Buddhist Scholar Keeps Trying for Driver's License

September 28, 2009

Author: Michael Lollar

Source: Syracuse.com

Wire Service: AP


The Buddhist monk reaches a top speed of 5 mph as he maneuvers his 16-year-old Toyota around the grounds of the meditation center in Raleigh.

It is a practice excursion to make sure that the monk, Khenpo Gawang Rinpoche, is familiar with the car the next time he takes his driver's license test.

A scholar among Buddhists, he has the equivalent of a doctorate in religion and literature. That means nothing to driver's license examiners who have flunked him three times on Tennessee's written driver's exam.

"It's kind of important to drive, to be independent, but language is a problem," says Khenpo, who lives about a mile from the meditation center that he founded here two years ago.

He wears the same deep amber and burgundy colors as those worn by one of his heroes, the Dalai Lama, leader-in-exile of Tibet. The amber represents wisdom, the burgundy compassion.