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Hamden Hall Country Day School
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First School Assembly Zeroes in on Power of Mind

As the new academic year begins, Upper School students were welcomed back to campus and treated to a special assembly presentation in Taylor Gymnasium by guest speaker Khentrul Lodro T'haye Rinpoche, Tibetan Monk and author of The Power of Mind: A Tibetan Monk’s Guide to Finding Freedom in Every Challenge.
English Department Chair Paul Gustafson introduced Khentrul Lodro T'haye Rinpoche and his translator Paloma Lopez Landry to the audience. Mr. Gustafson briefly spoke on his connection to Khentrul and his work as a co-editor of the book. He turned the conversation over to Khentrul, who noted this was his first school visit. He said he was thrilled to have the opportunity to openly talk with students about the importance of studying and the philosophy of training the mind to overcome any affliction one may face.
“This is an important time to your lives to learn and understand the world,” said Khentrul. “Studying, gaining perspective, and applying those teachings has the ability to change your mindset. The power of our positive attributions can transform your mind.”
Khentrul through his translator further explained the transformative process of turning life experiences into a healthy mindset from the inside out using the growth of a flower as an analogy.
“As humans, we have the potential to not only be healers, but have the infinite capacity to be lifelong learners,” said Khentrul. “There is nothing that we cannot learn and cultivating knowledge leads to goodness. To be good, we need two qualities: kindness and knowledge. Having a kind heart and the knowledge of our actions leads to peace and compassion for ourselves and others.”
His final teaching reflected on the need for support and how teachers can be the most important advocates in our lives. Teachers are full of knowledge and awareness that can help guide us to an accessible path that leads to greater understanding. Before ending the talk, students were able to ask questions. One student asked how to cultivate mindfulness in the presence of hard circumstances to which Khentrul replied that it is important to work hard at building a habit of training your mind to work through the platitudes and use those techniques to transform the circumstances into something positive.
Born in Tibet, Khentrul Lodro T'haye Rinpoche studied the fundamental teaching with his uncle, Tertön Jigme Dorje, who was the abbot of their family monastery. He continued his studies under His Holiness Katog Moksa Rinpoche who enrolled him in their shedra, a traditional school for learning Buddhist philosophy. He pursued higher education at Larung Gar where he earned three khenpo degrees—equivalent to three Ph.D.’s in Buddhist philosophy. He later moved to India and then the United States in 2002. He is currently based out of Arkansas and works as the director of Katog Choling, a nonprofit Tibetan Center.

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