“CRCS is a gate which has opened my new world. CRCS has opened my mind, not only how to be a good follower of Buddhism, but also how to criticize that religion,” this was expressed by Wawancara Wilis Rengganiasih Endah Ekowati, a CRCS alumna (2004), when asked about CRCS contributions to her success. One proof of her success is being granted a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue PhD program at the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies of the University of California, Berkeley.
When inquired why she chose CRCS for her Master Program, Wilis articulated that she believes that the belief in fate in Buddhism was one factor why she chose CRCS. “If there is no linkage of karma, there will be no encounter between someone and something.” For her, her existence at CRCS was part of the linkage with stories along with it. During that time, Pdt. Pujo Dharmasurya was the one who motivated and helped her to study at CRCS.
For Wilis, her success is not separated from her study at CRCS which was even in the beginning she acknowledged as a new thing in her life. There were many things she did not know during that time because she had no background in religious and cultural studies; because of that condition, with her experience as a dancer and dancing teacher at the Indonesian Art Institute in Solo, she was motivated to study hard and be zealous. “I am falling in love with religious and cross-cultural studies,” she said with a smile.
CRCS, for Wilis, has contributed a lot in shaping her way of thinking and her success. From some international and competent professors with an atmosphere conducive for study, she acquired critical thinking. Besides that, joining CRCS provided her many opportunities to study and work together with some national and international institutions.
Wilis is now busy preparing for her study in Berkeley, the program starts this coming August. Her study concern is Engaged Buddhism and Women in Buddhism. “My study will emphasize on Applied Buddhism which is seen from the social and anthropological perspective,” she shared.
Before achieving the Fulbright scholarship, Wilis shared that she applied for it in 2006, but she failed. But fate has always been with her, after finishing her Student Exchange Program in 2007 at Florida International University, she applied again for Fulbright and was accepted.
Wilis has been teaching at Syailendra Buddhist College in Kopeng, Central Java since 2004. Teaching there is part of her dedication as Buddhist. As of this writing, Wilis not only teaches at Syailendra but also at CRCS, where she started joining on May 1, 2009. (JMI)
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