NEWS

Dalai Lama Joins Second Dialogue between Russian Scientists and Buddhist Scholars

By Lyudmila Klasanova
Buddhistdoor Global | 2018-05-17 |
Telo Tulku Rinpoche opens the dialogue in Dharamsala. Photo by Tenzin Choejor. From dalailama.comTelo Tulku Rinpoche opens the dialogue in Dharamsala. Photo by Tenzin Choejor. From dalailama.com

His Holiness the Dalai Lama participated in a second dialogue between Russian scientists and Buddhist scholars in Dharamsala, India, from 3–4 May, under the theme “Understanding the World.” 

Participants and observers of the forum gathered at Thekchen Choling, the official residence of His Holiness. Attendees included 10 Russian scientists accompanied by 75 Russians guests, along with Tibetan monks, students from the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Sarah, the Men-Tsee-Khang (The Tibetan Medical and Astro-science Institute), and the Tibetan Children’s Village, as well as teachers from Dharamsala Government College and guests from the Central Tibetan Administration (the Tibetan government-in-exile).

The Center of Tibetan Culture and Information in Moscow, the Save Tibet Foundation in Moscow, and the Dalai Lama Trust organized the conference, with support from the Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences and Lomonosov Moscow State University’s Center for Consciousness Studies.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greets Russian cognition theorist Prof. David Dubrovsky. Photo by Tenzin Choejor. From dalailama.comHis Holiness the Dalai Lama greets Russian cognition theorist Prof. David Dubrovsky. Photo by Tenzin Choejor. From dalailama.com

Telo Tulku Rinpoche, head lama of the Republic of Kalmykia and representative of the Dalai Lama at the Office of Tibet in Moscow, opened the dialogue, expressing gratitude to His Holiness and welcoming the attending guests and those watching the webcast online. Event moderator Prof. Konstantin Anokhin from the Russian Academy of Sciences then gave an address, in which he noted that the dialogue participants had read and drawn inspiration from the Dalai Lama’s book The Universe in a Single Atom.

In his opening remarks, His Holiness explained that he has actively pursued dialogues with the scientific community for more than 30 years, noting that Buddhism has much in common with the fields of cosmology, neurobiology, physics, and psychology. He emphasized that until late in the 20th century, scientists took interest in the brain as distinct from the mind, however researchers have more recently acknowledged that neuroplasticity can be observed as a result of mental training, and that the relationship between the brain and the mind is now beginning to be investigated. 

The second day of the scientific dialogue commenced with a presentation by Dr. Namdol Lhamo of the Men-Tsee-Khang that focused on understanding the world in the context of the traditional Tibetan medicine. She presented some basic aspects of Tibetan medical perspective and recommended taking a holistic view of the human being as an entity comprised of mind and body.

At the end of the gathering, the Dalai Lama highlighted the value of a scientific approach to the promotion of warm-heartedness and compassion, as well as the need to tackle anger. He expressed hope that the future might see the emergence of a more peaceful society. 

“We need a scientific approach to the promotion of warm-heartedness. And we need to convince people of the need to tackle anger,” His Holiness said. “This work may not bring quick results and I may not live to see them, but those in their 30s now may see the emergence of a more peaceful human population.” (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)

In conclusion, the Dalai Lama expressed hope that a similar gathering of Russian scientists and Buddhists scholars may one day take place in Moscow.

The first dialogue between Russian scientists and Buddhist scholars was held in New Delhi from 5–8 August 2017 under the theme “The Nature of Consciousness.”* The historical dialogue initiated a series of meetings under the theme “Fundamental Knowledge” aimed at exploring various aspects of modern science and Buddhist contemplative studies for a deeper understanding of reality and human nature. In October of the same year, the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow hosted a roundtable titled “Buddhism and Science,” which was dedicated to the results of the New Delhi dialogue. Telo Tulku Rinpoche and Julia Jironkina, director of the Save Tibet Foundation, also participated in the forum.

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