Author Topic: New addition in Geshe examinations?  (Read 4818 times)

jessicajameson

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 290
    • Email
New addition in Geshe examinations?
« on: January 17, 2013, 10:11:15 AM »
Yesterday, and for the next 6 days, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and 20 top scientists and philosophers will be discussing on a range of scientific topics: quantum physics, neuroscience, Buddhist and Western understanding of consciousness.

It all sounds interesting till the article below mentions that from 2014, it will be required for monks to undertake SCIENCE EXAMINATIONS to be qualified for a Geshe degree.

Although it may be a good move to add this in, as it will give Geshe's more "credibility" in our scientific world, and it can seem like a compassionate move on HHDL's part - however, I still feel a little appalled that it is now an addition to the curriculum.

What do you guys think?

Quote
Science studies have been very recently introduced in the highest examinations conducted by the Gelukpa University.

Monks studying in the final four years of the regular monastic study programme and the first two years of the Geshe Lharampa degree curriculum, which is equivalent to doctorate of Philosophy, are now required to appear for science examinations over a spread of six years, beginning 2014.


---------------------------------------------------

DHARAMSHALA, January 16: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama is scheduled to take part in extensive discussions beginning tomorrow with some of the world’s top scientists and philosophers on topics ranging from quantum physics to neuroscience to Buddhist and Western understanding of consciousness.

The Dalai Lama arrived in south India today from New Delhi to take part in the Mind and Life XXVI: Mind, Brain and Matter - Critical Conversations Between Buddhist Thought and Science to be held from January 17-22 at the Drepung Loseling Monastic University in Mundgod Tibetan settlement, Karnataka state.

The six-day event will bring together 20 of the world’s foremost scientists and philosophers with His Holiness and other senior Tibetan scholars in the attendance of several thousand monks and nuns from numerous Tibetan monastic centers of learning.

According to the organisers, the conference will engage in important questions of mutual interest and challenge such as the fundamental nature of our physical world, the problem of consciousness, the nature and workings of our mind, and the interface of contemplative practice and scientific research.

With two sessions each day, scientific and the classical Buddhist philosophical methods of inquiry will be studied, in addition to selected topics in quantum physics, neuroscience, and Buddhist and contemporary Western views of consciousness.

The conference also aims to offer an educational forum, whereby the monastic students can learn about the historical development of science, and how science has come to shape the way we understand our world.

Science studies have been very recently introduced in the highest examinations conducted by the Gelukpa University.

Monks studying in the final four years of the regular monastic study programme and the first two years of the Geshe Lharampa degree curriculum, which is equivalent to doctorate of Philosophy, are now required to appear for science examinations over a spread of six years, beginning 2014.

The conference is being jointly organised by Mind and Life Institute, Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.

http://phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=32850&article=The+Dalai+Lama+and+top+scientists+gather+in+Mundgod+for+Mind+and+Life+conference

Q

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 557
Re: New addition in Geshe examinations?
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2013, 11:25:16 AM »
I've heard of this news before and found it very interesting. I also watched a video of these monks in campus studying in class. You would be surprised... they understand things way faster than an average person in class. Not to mention the lack of note taking... they practically write nothing down and understand everything by memory. I found that cool.

I think when the Dalai Lama started this project, it really showed how wise he is. As all know it, through since, many of Buddha's teachings are being revealed as truth that the regular lay people can begin to associate and understand within their own capabilities.

Take reincarnation for example, science HAS RECOGNIZED IT'S EXISTENCE based on legal medical practices to conduct past life regression on people that have severe phobias but do not know the cause of it. Reincarnation has always been an issue of debate within many cultures, but ever since science discovered that there is past lives... it just shut everyone up!

TheRedGaruda

  • Moderator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 8
    • Email
Re: New addition in Geshe examinations?
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2013, 11:56:50 AM »
@JessicaJameson I agree with the part where you mentioned that it increases the "credibility" of the monks.

It is unfortunate that in this "modern" day, the general public needs science to proof the existence of everything. Any issue that has scientific backing is considered to be more solid, and most probably true.

We should all remember that time in time again, science has recalled many of their findings. E.g. the theory that the world is flat was believed by many scientists, and therefore accepted by majority of the public back then. It was proven otherwise.

I am intrigued to know the field of science that the Gelugpa monks will be examined on. Hope it doesn't start dwelling into useless subjects like chemistry and the anatomy of the body!

Big Uncle

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1995
Re: New addition in Geshe examinations?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2013, 12:42:23 PM »
I think science is a great subject but I am not sure if its a debatable subject matter though. I think if the language is Tibetan, I don't see why the Tibetan scholars are not able to pick it up easily. I am sure the grueling debate sessions on Buddhist epistemology and other philosophical subjects would have trained up their minds and adding science in is just a piece of cake.

On the other hand, I think that it is incredibly far-sighted of the Dalai Lama to have incorporated science into the curriculum of the monks. I am sure that he must be thinking of those endless scientific buddhist forums that he had to attend and the constant fascination with Buddhism and Buddhist methods of mind-training by the scientific community seemed like a promising prospect for Buddhism.

Come to think about it, its amazing that Buddhism has so much to offer to humanity. It is the only religion I know that is constantly being probed and examined by scientists and psychologists. It is not just all theory but also in actual practice. Some meditators have been examined by scientists for their baffling ability to withstand extreme cold with little clothing. Also, psychologists are baffled by the ability of some monks to survive with little to no emotional scarring after horrendous experiences of being imprisoned and tortured in the Chinese Gulags. There's just so much for the scientific community to get involved in. Therefore, I conclude that Buddhism is the most suited for practitioners of today and in the future and the Dalai Lama is seizing this scientific interest as an avenue for more people to develop faith in the Dharma.

WisdomBeing

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2096
    • Add me to your facebook!
Re: New addition in Geshe examinations?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2013, 11:37:12 AM »
I think it is great that science is being included as part of the monastic curriculum. It shows how important education in secular matters is. HH the Dalai Lama has always been interested in science and science is the way the world is based on in our modern age. I do think that Buddhism is scientific in that it is based on logic and observations of cause and effect. Many renowned scientists like Albert Einstein have been inclined towards Buddhism because of their scientific mind. 

Basic tenets of Buddhism like reincarnation has been proven by scientific study which is from pure observation and documentation, not based on any religious belief. Likewise monks who can control their brainwaves and body temperatures through mind control have been scientifically documented. When we use science to support Buddhist philosophy, it makes Buddhism more attractive to skeptical minds.

As monks study science in the monastic education system, they will also be better equipped to answer questions from the lay community and provide answers based on what majority of people have been educated on in a non-monastic environment which i think will bring Buddhism to more people in the modern world. This is very far sighted of HH the Dalai Lama to be willing to change the study of Buddhism because of modern times. it is evolution for the better because it is necessary.
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being