California university hires former Buddhist monk to expand Tibetan studies program

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2001

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) -- A gay rights advocate and former Buddhist monk who has questioned the Dalai Lama's opposition to homosexuality has been hired to expand the Tibetan studies program at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Jose Ignacio Cabezon, who has served as an interpreter for the Dalai Lama, will be the first professor to hold the university's endowed XIV Dalai Lama Chair. Cabezon has written about gay rights and Buddhism, encouraging fellow Buddhists to be accepting of homosexuality.

''He is a marvelous addition, a great thinker in his own right,'' said Wade Clark Roof, chairman of the Religious Studies Department.

UCSB's Department of Religious Studies has offered courses in Tibetan Buddhism for several years. Cabezon will develop undergraduate and graduate programs in Tibetan religion, culture and language.

He has been on the faculty of the Iliff School of Theology in Denver since 1989.

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