Tang Ho Winners 2024

The UCI Religious Studies community congratulates three student winners of the 2023–24 Betsy Tang and Kent W. Ho Award in Buddhist Studies for their early promise in Religious Studies.

Dr. Christina Ghandbarpour selected three winning essays from the Asian Religions (REL ST 5B) course in Fall 2023 and describes each essay here:

Isabel Ramos 
Isabel’s insightful essay on the Dalai Lama’s message of happiness, and how happiness can be fostered by following Buddhist precepts throughout our lives, highlights the importance of compassion towards one’s fellow human beings. Her essay shows how longstanding Buddhist concepts remain relevant to the modern world. 

John Mai 
John’s compelling essay focused on the differences in practices and beliefs of three Mahayana sects: Zen Buddhism, Esoteric Buddhism, and Amidism. Using quotes and key terms from the original texts, his essay discussed key practices such as seated meditation (zazen), the use of mandalas, and the difference between the jiriki and tariki paths to enlightenment.  

Tyler Choe 
Tyler is receiving this award not only for his writing—which did an excellent job of describing various facets of Buddhist teachings—but also for his all-around dedication to Religious Studies and the understanding of Buddhism that he has shown in various settings. Tyler’s work on the differences in approach to gender in Confucianism and Buddhism is a particular stand-out, as are his many contributions to discussions on religious topics in East Asian history.

The awards will be presented at the End of the Year Awards Party in May 2024.

Congratulations Isabel, John, and Tyler!

Religious Studies