Buddhist monks may soon learn science in monasteries

Express News Service, Dec 18, 2009

Lucknow, India -- The Buddhist monasteries across the world may soon start teaching modern science. This was stated by Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in Lucknow on Thursday.

“We want to introduce the subject as part of the curriculum in our monasteries,” Dalai Lama said at the annual conference of Neurological Society of India at Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences.

“We have already started sending select students to study modern science for a five-year period at a university in Atlanta in the US,” he added. Currently, the Dharamshala monastery teaches the subject of Science of Mind and Reasoning.

Emphasizing on the power of meditation and need for more scientific research on it, Dalai Lama said: “We recently conducted a study with the help of scientists in America on a group of people and found that after three weeks of meditation their blood pressure reduced, mind became calmer and it further improved their clarity, and reduced stress.”

“There are lots of things in our brain that are still to be explored. We need meditation to bring changes in it,” he added.

The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate said science must find ways and means to bring compassion, love and conviction — important for a healthy body, mind, family and community.

“Modern education is only digging with brain and not doing much with the mind. Some efforts should be made to promote moral ethics,” said Dalai Lama.

“Of late, there has been a positive sign in science. Earlier, spirituality was not involved in science, but now it has began to feel and realise that the state of mind is very crucial,” he said adding some scientists have expressed that destructive emotions were eating immune system.

He said further scientific research should be made on the level of consciousness. “We have seen several instances in our monasteries when a person is clinically dead, but the body remained fresh for several days. In one such instance, a monk who was declared brain dead turned out alive after 10 days. More research work is required to assess such happenings and our concepts should be based on reason and experimentation,” he said.

Talking about religion and science going together, the Dalai Lama emphasised the importance of investigation and experimentation. “Even Lord Buddha told his followers not to merely accept the teachings, rather investigate and experiment as well,” Dalai Lama said.

Dalai Lama called himself a “son of India”, and “a messenger and promoter of non-violence.”

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