Buddhism and Science Meet in South India

Dalai Lama Continues Efforts to Develop Monastic Science Education

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 Jacqui DeFelice, Director of Operations and Advancement // (413) 387-0710

Mundgod, India (January 15, 2013) – A landmark six-day event at Drepung Monastery, convened at the specific request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, will bring together 20 of the world’s foremost scientists and philosophers with His Holiness and other senior Tibetan scholars in Mundgod, India. Organized by the Mind and Life Institute, and co-sponsored by the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives and The Dalai Lama Trust, the conference aims to critically engage important questions such as the fundamental nature of our physical world, the problem of consciousness, the nature and workings of our mind, and the interface of contemplative practice and scientific research. In addition, the event will offer an educational forum whereby monastic students can learn about the historical development of science, and how science has come to shape the way we understand our world. Several thousand monks and nuns from numerous Tibetan monastic centers of learning will be in attendance.

Over the last several years, largely through the work of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, Science for Monks, and Science Meets Dharma, science instruction has been given to a small group of monastic scholars. Very recently, the decision was made to require science education for Geshe degrees at Tibetan monastic universities, and to facilitate all monastic students being introduced to the advances of modern science and technology. In recognition of this fact, this conference is taking place at Drepung Monastery, one of the historically important Tibetan academic institutions.

“This meeting represents the first large-scale dialogue between scientists and monastics, and follows naturally in the trajectory of 25 years of Mind and Life dialogues,” says Wendy Hasenkamp, Mind and Life’s Program and Research Director. “The goal is not to make monks and nuns into scientists, but rather to expose them to this interdisciplinary dialogue and demonstrate the value of interaction between Buddhism and science.”

About the Mind & Life Institute
The Mind & Life Institute is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization dedicated to building a scientific understanding of the mind through the investigation of contemplative practices in order to reduce suffering and promote well being. Mind and Life facilitates annual dialogues between neuroscientists, social scientists, contemplative scholars, and the Dalai Lama, as well as funding research and hosting annual conferences in the field of contemplative science.

About the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives is not only a library, a museum and an archive, but also an academic institute offering regular cultural and educational courses. Seminars, conferences, workshops and lecture series are held in the hopes of fostering research and an exchange of knowledge among scholars, researchers, students and interested general public.

About the Dalai Lama Trust
The Dalai Lama Trust was founded in India in 2003 by His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama. The Trust was established to support the advancement and welfare of the Tibetan people, the culture and heritage of the ancient civilization of Tibet, and the promotion of the deep-rooted values associated with its culture and people.