New Program to Teach Western Science to Buddhist Monks and Nuns

For centuries, Tibetan Buddhist monks have offered advice through their centuries-old wisdom in an attempt to better society. A new program called the “Science for Monks” has been developed to provide monks an alternative perspective. There has always been debate over science and religion, however, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso has opened up to the possibility of embracing western science. With this new knowledge he sees an opportunity to “explore…the nature of reality” and sees science as a “compelling way to communicate insights from [his] own spiritual tradition”. The introduction of science to this well established and ancient practice is not intended to alter beliefs and traditions, but to “show their potential for an expanded role in the community… but as more engaged…informed…and more well-rounded scholars.” Traditional Buddhism has rooted values in observing the universe and understanding its nature for the purpose of bettering society. Through the Dalai Lama Centre for Ethics and Transformative Values, a program called Science, Monks and Technology aims to give monks the knowledge they need so they can provide technologies such as accessible, clean water, and solar power to their communities. Generally, people have the notion that traditional religions are reluctant to change and reject criticism, however, the Buddhists of Tibet erase that stigma. The” Science for Monks” program is designed to provide “another touch point for a two-way discussion on the nature of reality”, and ultimately demonstrates that “Western science and Buddhism can help each other best serve humanity”.



4 thoughts on “New Program to Teach Western Science to Buddhist Monks and Nuns

  1. It is great to see modern science and technology working together with religion. It makes me think of the massive observatory The Vatican has in Arizona. The Catholic Church has been studying the cosmos since the mid 1500’s and today are involved in many areas of research including the study of stars and black clouds. Many people are not aware of this research, as I was not aware of the Buddhist’s initiative. I feel this lack of public information regarding such programs and practices aids in the notion mentioned by JSL that, traditional religions are reluctant to change.

    TGP #205

  2. I think this is a very positive news. Technology should not be looked at as threatening traditions but rather as a possibility for easier accessibility to engaging in them. It is great to hear monks are seeing it as a way to efficiently get their word out. I hope that other religious leaders can see this example and utilize technological advancements to their advantage as well. The 21st century highly revolves around technology, shutting it out would be pointless due to how reliant we are on it.

  3. This is an amazing development and is pushing the religious community in the exact direction it needs to go. Since its inception Buddhism has been an extremely forward thinking and open minded religion. Keeping with this tradition is an amazing feat considering its heavy integration into the radically conservative Taoist belief that dominated China at the time of its popularity. Buddhists are constantly looking for new ways to better how they can care for those they care about as well as themselves in a purely benevolent and non self centered means. Hopefully this development will teach other ore conservative religions that changing with the times is not necessarily something to avoid, especially when the driving force is one of the most ancient religions on the planet.
    -AVM #205

  4. The introduction of this program greatly benefits in educating others on the coexistence of religion and science; an issue that has recently been portrayed as black and white. While science aids in the understanding of the universe to the behavior of the smallest atoms, it is important to keep in mind that aspects of religions such as Buddhism are able to benefit individuals’ well being by offering different outlooks on life.


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