Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 2:25 pm
At church on Sundays, African-American students are hearing a possibly unexpected pitch alongside the familiar sermon: Come to Cal State University.
Officials from the California State University system have been pioneering a program of seeking new prospective African-American students in church pews — a program that's serving as a model for similar efforts elsewhere.
Blacks make up about 6.6 percent of California's population, according to 2011 census data. Jorge Haynes, a Cal State spokesman, said the university system's African-American population is 5 percent.
In Philadelphia in 1972, an immigrant couple of Kalmyk origin gave birth to a boy they named Erdne. A few years later, the Dalai Lama renamed him Telo Tulku Rinpoche and identified him as one in a long line of reincarnations of an ancient Buddhist saint. The boy was then taken to a monastery in the mountains of southern India to learn the teachings of the Buddha.
Telo Rinpoche was one of the first of his kind: someone from the West learning thousand-year-old traditions a world away from his family.