SCIENCE for MONKS

creating science learning communities with tibetan buddhist monastics since 2001

Nargajunas Science Leadership Group

Nargajuna

"Our main focus was on ethics with science, and especially with genetics and ethics"
"Studying science has had a great impact on me. Science is something that pervades its influence on every life and for me has created abroad or open outlook towards my Buddhist studies"

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Book Club - 2009

Nargajunas Book Club #1

Working with the Nargajunas Modern Science Group, they formed a book club to discuss HHDL "The Universe in a Single Atom" Members of the group included monks from Science Meets Dharma and the Emory Tibet Science Initiative. The main focus of discussion was on ethics in science.

"Our main focus was on ethics with science, and especially with genetics and ethics"

One of the monks, Sherab Tenzin, was chosen by the extended group to lead the sessions and focus the conversations during their meeting. They chose Sherab Tenzin because of his experience as a school teacher, long-term participation in the science for monks program, plus he also had already finished reading the book. After the third meeting, the leaders asked the extended group if they wanted to continue discussing the book or stop. They unanimously agreed to continue discussing the book by selecting and focusing each meeting on a different topic/theme.

"We are planning to have more meetings and complete the book"

In future meetings they plan to invite Geshes (monastic PhD's) to contribute to their discussion.

"In this book, His Holiness talks about the embodiment of science and draws comparisons between Buddhism and science. By inviting the Geshes and introducing His Holiness the Dalai Lama's book to them, we're hoping to spread awareness of the dialogue with science." "When we discuss this book with other people who don't understand science, they may have difficulty in understanding the meaning of some points. So since we know science a little bit better than them, we can explain some scientific terms and concepts"

When the book was first published in Tibetan language and reached the monasteries, "so many monks started buying this book and after a few days, we would meet other monks and they'd say, I don't understand the science subject, only the introduction part where he talks about how he got interested in science."


A Look Into Study Group Homework

Nargajunas Modern Science Group Homework

During their bi-monthly meetings the group meets to discuss the work they have done individually and to complete group assignments.

Writing: Each of them continued to write, from personal biographies to articles comparing Western science and Buddhism. One focused on the concept of infinity, examining from the scientific point of view, Indian and Tibetan masters. A second examined the use of language in comparing different key ideas to Buddhism and science. One wrote an article on science exhibitions, what worked well and what were the mistakes. Because they are interested in writing about different topics, they wrote by themselves rather than in a group. Three monks wrote autobiographies. One wrote a story about the frog and the tadpole and used it for instruction with children in the school. He published the story about the frog and the tadpole in the Tibetan newspaper.

Videos:They met to watch 2 videos from BBC’s “The Planets” that have been translated into Tibetan language, and respond to discussion questions.

Readings:They met for three days with the Monk Science Corner Group and students from Science Meet Dharma and the Emory Tibet Science Initiative to discuss the "The Universe in a Single Atom."

Teaching:In their own monasteries, they taught new students and put more stress on writing. They taught the double entry journal method. One monk is now using the student-centered approach with young students, encouraging them to discover for themselves.

Exhibition:They worked on sharing their exhibition with students in their community; they developed more models, together they showed the exhibition to the monk community. The community asked them to create another exhibition before the Tibetan New Year (Feb 14, 2010). One of the successes was translating their charts into both English and Tibetan. One of the problems is that the audience asked many questions and they need to provide more information about sound. They sometimes worry if they can meet the expectation of the public.

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