The Office of Academic Affairs

Naropa University represents a unique experiment in American higher education. Our Buddhist inspiration provides a framework in which liberal arts and professional education are placed in constant interaction with students’ emerging self-identity, inner strength, and moral compass through exposure to a variety of contemplative practices.

This is an opportunity for faculty and other professionals during the 2022–2023 academic year to spend a semester on the Naropa University campus in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, conducting a research, artistic, social action, or other project that relates Buddhist philosophy and practice to an aspect of American culture and values. This is an ideal place for a Buddhism fellowship, Religious Studies fellowship, or sabbatical fellowship in Religion.

Visiting Scholars and Events

Each spring, The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for Buddhist Studies and American Culture & Values and Naropa University host an evening lecture with the visiting Lenz Scholar.

Past Events

March 5, 2020 - Zenju Earthlyn Manuel: The Lived Experience as the Gateway to Freedom

Zenju Earthlyn ManuelBorn to parents who migrated from rural Louisiana, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, an ordained Zen Buddhist priest, is the author of Sanctuary: A Meditation on Home, Homelessness, and Belonging, The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality, and Gender, and Tell Me Something About Buddhism.

She is contributing author to many books, including Together We Are One, Dharma, Color and Culture: Voices From Western Buddhist Teachers of Color, and Lamp: Stories From Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women.

She holds a master’s degree from UCLA and a PhD of Transformative Learning from the California Institute of Integral Studies.  You can learn more at

March 14, 2019 - Venerable Pannavati: A Heart of Gold

Venerable PannavatiWhen we are seeking the spiritual way of life, we agree to abandon the "I" and "my" making. We do this only when we are convinced that "I" and "my" making cannot bring us deep and lasting happiness—cannot uproot our secret fears and hidden faults. Only then can we surrender ourselves to another discipline in anticipation of realizing a further freedom and release.

Venerable Pannavati, founder of Heartwood Refuge & Retreat Center and Co-Abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage is known for her wit, compassion and laughter. A former Christian pastor ordained in both Theravadan and Chan lineages, she is also a Zen Dharma Holder and Vajrayana practitioner.

She is known internationally for her engagement in global projects of socio-economic upliftment and conducts teaching retreats throughout the country sharing the Dharma in a way that is approachable and relevant to all. Still recognized primarily as a forest monk, she concedes: “People are my forest.”

March 1, 2018 - Lama Rod Owens: The Practice of Love and Rage as Tools for Liberation

Lama Rod OwensLama Rod Owens is an author, activist, and authorized Lama (Buddhist Teacher) in the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. Lama Rod is the Guiding Teacher for the Radical Dharma Boston Collective, a teacher with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), a visiting teacher with Natural Dharma Fellowship and the Brooklyn Zen Center.

Lama Rod is a faculty member for the iBme’s Teacher Training program and is also a faculty member for the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s professional education program in mindfulness for educators and has served as a guest faculty member for the school’s course "Mindfulness for Educators." He holds a Master of Divinity in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School where he focused on the intersection of social change, identity, and spiritual practice and was a recipient of the prestigious Hopkins Shareholder Award honoring his work in ministry. He is a co-author of Radical Dharma, Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, which explores race in the context of American Buddhist communities.

Lama Rod is a founding teacher for the Awaken meditation app that offers meditations and contemplations focused on social change. He has been published and featured in several publications including Buddhadharma, Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Spirit Magazine, and contributed the chapter on working with anger for the recent publication Real World Mindfulness for Beginners. He is a regular guest on SiriusXM’s Urban View hosted by journalist and publisher Karen Hunter. He has offered talks, retreats, and workshops for many organizations and universities including New York University, Yale University, Harvard University, Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, Tufts University, University of Vermont, and Boston College.

Lama Rod facilitates undoing patriarchy workshops for male identified practitioners in Brooklyn and Boston and his current writing projects include patriarchy in spiritual communities, sexuality and ethics, and fatness and spirituality. Lama Rod can be reached at

March 16, 2017 - Lama Surya Das: Make Me One With Everything: Buddhist Meditations to Awaken from the Illusion of Separation

Lama Surya Das is a “foremost Western Buddhist mediation teacher and scholar, one of the main interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, and a leading spokesperson for the emerging American Buddhism.” Further, “The Dalai Lama affectionately calls him, ‘The Western Lama.’”

Lama Surya Das is also the founder of the Dzogchen Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts and its branches found around the country as well as the founder with the Dalai Lama of the Western Buddhist Teachers Network. Most recently, Lama Surya’s work has focused on youth and contemplative education initiatives.

Dr. Alfred Kaszniak: Contemplative Practice in a Multitasking World, 2016

Reverend angel Kyodo williams: Beyond Buddhism: What We Need to Lose To Save What We Love, 2015

Sharon Salzberg: Real Happiness at Work, 2014

Earlier Events

  • Meredith MonkAn Evening with Meredith Monk, 2013
  • Gary SnyderOn the topic of Buddhism, American Culture and Value, 2011
  • Joanna Macy: Untitled, 2011
  • Paula Green, EdDBuilding Peace in a Stormy World: A Journey of Service, Hope, and Faith, 2010
  • Jan Willis, PhD: Dharma Diversity: The Many Forms and Faces of Buddhism in America, 2009
  • Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara, PhD: Five Expressions of Zen: A Path to Service, 2009
  • José Cabezón, PhDThinking through Texts: Toward a Critical Buddhist Theology of Sexuality, 2008
  • Mark Silk, PhD: The International Conference on Media, Spiritualities and Social Change, 2008

Academic Affairs


This is where experiential learning meets academic rigor. Where you challenge your intellect and unlock your potential.