Funding is requested to research and write a popular book on cosmology emerging from the participation by the proposer in a three-year institute to train Tibetan Buddhist monks in science and mathematics in northern India. The institute is one of several programs that His Holiness the Dalai Lama initiated to prepare his monks for the 21st century. The book will be a personal account of the dialogs and conversations that took place when these monks encountered the state of the art in our knowledge of the nature and history of the universe. By capturing the essence of modern cosmology, along with the rigorous and questing nature of the monastic tradition, and adding the spice of the Himalayan setting, the book will foster deeper dialog between a frontier scientific field and one of the world's oldest religions. A particular focus of the writing will be the aspects of humility, joy, and openness that made novice monks ideal learners. The audience for the book is teachers and educators, and the large sectors of the public with an interest in popular science or Eastern religion. The proposer is an experienced author of three popular books and two textbooks, and three additional popular books in press. The book proposal has been under consideration by the Templeton Press for several months, and modified in response to suggestions by Editor-in-Chief Susan Arellano; a final decision is anticipated within weeks of the deadline for this proposal. The proposer will donate half of the royalties from the project to the Tibetan Children's Villages, a charity that operates orphanages for Tibetan refugees. This project is a cost-effective way to reach 10,000 or more people with even a modestly successful book, and more via the ancillary multimedia web site. A popular science book has a very long shelf life and so a potentially more enduring impact than a conference or a TV show. The concept adheres to the 'Science in Dialog' strand of the Templeton Core Funding Areas.
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