Thursday, March 25, 2010

The East-meets-West experiment

Tibetan prayer flags join the U.S. flag on the Quad during Tibet Week.

Word is spreading about the success of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, said Geshe Lhakdor, director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, who is on campus for Tibet Week. “Now, when I travel around the world, people ask me about this initiative at Emory, and whether they can start something similar at their universities."

The program to bring the knowledge of Buddhist meditative and traditional healing practices to Westerners, and the knowledge of modern science to Tibetan monastics, is now in its third year.

As Geshe Lhakdor explained: “Spiritual traditions, like Buddhism, help us to cultivate a proper perspective and mental outlook. If you don’t have that, your problems can’t be solved through technology. We need both science and spirituality. That is extremely clear. We must walk together, share our knowledge, and help each other.”

The Emory-Tibet Partnership has inspired several innovative projects. A study abroad program in Dharamsala, India, immerses Emory students in Tibetan mind-body sciences. The Emory Mind-Body Program is investigating the mental health benefits of meditation. Emory biochemist Raymond Schinazi is heading a project to analyze Tibetan medical compounds for anti-viral and anti-cancer properties.

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama plans to return to Emory Oct. 17-19 for a series of public talks, in his role as Emory’s Presidential Distinguished Professor.

Where science meets spirituality
Tibetan monks contemplate science

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