Alan discontinued his university studies in ecology and philosophy in 1971 and moved to Dharamsala, India to study Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, and language. He was ordained by H.H. the Dalai Lama two years later, and over the course of fourteen years as a monk, he studied with and translated for many of the generation’s greatest lamas, including the Dalai Lama. In 1984, he resumed his Western education at Amherst College, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science. He then applied that background to his PhD research at Stanford on the interface between Buddhism and Western science and philosophy, with a focus on the contemplative cultivation of attention, mindfulness, and introspection.