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30 monks graduate as science teachers in monasteries

Monday 17 May 2010

Langues :

The first batch of 30 monks have graduated to become science teachers in Tibetan monasteries in exile. A convocation was held yesterday at Deer park in Bir Tibetan settlement, some 60 Kilometres from Dharamsala, Phayul.com reported.

Presiding over as the chief guest at the convocation was Kalon Thupten Lungrik, Kalon for the Department of Education. The monks will be teaching science at various monastic institutions including Sera, Ganden, Drepung, and Bon Menri monastery.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama had in the past suggested that monks must be conversant in some of the main science concepts to assist and deepen their understanding of Buddhist philosophy, and also to expose them to new scientific findings.

The monks have been receiving science education under the auspices of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives which has held several workshops and training sessions for the monks in the past few years.
“The monks will bring back to their home monasteries a variety of teaching strategies and educational materials, from cosmology to neuroscience, developed through support of the Sager Family Foundation that include; hands-on activities, translated articles, writing assignments, and fully translated and dubbed educational science videos,” a press statement issued by the LTWA said.

The monks will publish articles on Buddhism and science, conduct science exhibition, organize dialogues on the interface of science and spirituality, and help develop the vision and materials that grow opportunities for fellow monks to engage with science.

Since 2001, the Sager Family Foundation has been working in partnership with the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamshala, India, to provide opportunities for Tibetan Buddhist monks to study science. Through the Science for Monks the LTWA has launched Science Leadership Institute in 2008, through which, the 30 monks were trained to teach and lead science education.

The Science Leadership Institute organized local monastic leadership groups supported through bi-annual 2-week workshops conducted by expert from major educational institutions, including the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Arizona, Tucson.

In addition to continued support of the 1st cohort, a second cohort of 30 monks will be recruited in 2011, expanding the study groups and science centers to new traditions of Tibetan Buddhism both in India and Nepal.
The new cohort will also include a strong representation of nuns. The Sager Family Foundation and the LTWA are committed to partnering in this historic initiative for many years to come, said the statement.

LTWA has also partnered with many other educational institutes in the west including Emory University which is now supporting the creation of a comprehensive science curriculum for all the monasteries.

Source : http://www.tibetcustom.com

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