The Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, in partnership with the Dalai Lama and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, is developing and implementing a comprehensive science curriculum for Tibetan monastics, and initiating a range of mutually beneficial exchanges, discoveries, and knowledge. Science and Buddhism offer two distinct methods of inquiry, and a critical challenge in this exchange is how to find compatibility in what constitutes evidence and what makes an argument valid. Scientific inquiry is grounded in concepts like falsifiability, testability, validation, and replication, focusing on the “objective.” Buddhist inquiry is grounded in practices of contemplation, meditation, and debate, focusing on the “subjective.” Tibetan Buddhist debate offers a profoundly embodied vehicle for rigorous exploration of these distinct traditions through analysis of specific topics, allowing Tibetan monastics to deeply engage the science curriculum, and Western students to practice contemplative epistemological stances. We discuss our experience using this technique for learning and inquiry.
Carol Worthman, PhD
Carol Worthman is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology at Emory University (Atlanta), where she also directs the Laboratory for Comparative Human Biology. After taking a dual undergraduate degree … MORE