Judging a Book by its Cover

Every time I am tempted to judge someone by the job they do, I think about the man picture with His Holiness at the right. His name is ThuptenDalai Lama Visits Seattle To Start US Tour Jinpa, and has has been the Dalai Lama’s primary English translator for a very long time. He started during his days as a monk, and continues today. You might suppose that is a rather menial position, and that other than knowing two languages not much is required. Thupten Jinpa has a Geshe degree, the Tibetan Buddhist equivalent of a Ph.D. in Tibetan Buddhism. In addition, he has a BA in Philosophy and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Cambridge University. When the Dalai Lama became involved in the Mind and Life meetings with scientists, Jinpa wanted to be able to represent the Dalai Lama appropriately. Therefore, he educated himself in Neurobiology and Psychology to the point where not only could he translate the scientific material adequately, but also to the point where he is a founding member of the CCARE program at Stanford University, which studies the scientific basis of compassion and altruism. Having heard Jinpa speak many times, I find him to be one of the most brilliant minds I have encountered – but he’s just a translator, right? Never sell yourself short, or limit your self-understanding to anyone’s opinion of the job you do!

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