The Exchange of Ideas Between Buddhism and Western Culture: Challenges and Opportunities, Part 2

The Exchange of Ideas Between Buddhism and Western Culture: Challenges and Opportunities, Part 2


As Buddhist ideas and contemplative practices are increasingly applied and integrated into contemporary Western societies, the views and methods of Western science are likewise beginning to enter the Buddhist world. As part of his active collaboration between modern scientists and Buddhist contemplatives, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has initiated a process for the integration of modern science education into the Tibetan monastic curriculum. With the support of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA), this process began in the late 1990s via science workshops sponsored by Science for Monks and basic courses offered by Science Meets Dharma. In 2006, His Holiness invited Emory University to collaborate with the LTWA to develop and implement a sustainable science curriculum for monastics, which is now being implemented at nine major Tibetan monasteries. In 2013, the Geluk leadership adopted a historic resolution to include science education as part of the core Gelukpa monastic curriculum, the first major change to this system in 600 years. In this session, we will hear perspectives from both sides of this cultural exchange. Geshe Lhakdor, Geshe Lobsang, and Geshe Dadul will discuss efforts to incorporate science into the monastic education system in a sustainable way, sharing successes, challenges, and future plans. Their presentations will be followed by Yangsi Rinpoche, who will offer reflections on sharing Buddhist ideas in Western culture. Drawing from his experience as the president of Maitripa Buddhist College in Portland, Oregon, his presentation will focus on the challenges and opportunities of teaching Buddhist theory and practices (mindfulness and compassion) in a Western academic setting. 

  • Dialogue 30
    19 sessions
  • December 17, 2015
    Sera Monastery, Bylakuppe, India
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Geshe Dadul Namgyal

Geshe Dadul Namgyal began his Buddhist studies in 1977 at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, Dharamsala, and completed them at Drepung Loseling Monastic University, South India, earning the Geshe Lharampa Degree in 1992. He also holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He represented his monastery on two year-long tours across the Americas. Later, he was Principal of Drepung Loseling School for five years. He then joined Central University of Tibetan Studies (CUTS), Sarnath, India, as Lecturer in the Department of Indian Buddhism for seven years. He has also served for several years as one of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s religious translators in English. During this period, he traveled extensively with His Holiness as an entourage member on visits both within India and abroad. Since early 2010, he has been serving as Senior Resident Teacher at Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta, USA. He also serves in the team of translators for the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, engaged in preparing a 6-year science curriculum in Tibetan to be used in Tibetan monasteries and nunneries. He has published a Tibetan translation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Power of Compassion, a language manual, Learn English through Tibetan, and a critical edition of Tsongkhapa’s Speech of Gold, among others. His translation into Tibetan of Professor Jay Garfield’s Western Idealism and Its Critics was published by CUTS under the title nub phyogs pa’i sems gtso’i grub mtha’ dang der rgol ba rnams kyi lugs, and formally released in December, 2010.