Science for Monks is a concrete manifestation of the intention of the 14th Dalai Lama to develop monastic science leaders among Tibetan Buddhists that strengthens the monastic education system. With the support of the John Templeton Foundation, our previous work helped realize this vision of connecting Buddhism and science: It produced a network of 8 science centers, trained and supported over 80 leaders from these centers, established administrative and political support by deeply engaging 200 religious leader-stewards of education, and launched successful research investigations that are genuine collaborations with the monastics. This is a strong foundation, but to realize the full potential of the vision of the Dalai Lama, we think it is now critically important to scaffold a new phase of indigenous leadership so the monastics become skilled at driving effective learning and monastic-driven scientific inquiries.
The proposed project will (1) Train a new generation of leaders who further the effort to develop local centers and programs – a 3-week annual leadership institute will graduate a 3rd cohort and launch a 4th; (2) Develop the 8 new science centers to promote inquiry, scientific exploration, and East-West exchanges through mentorship visits, and mini grants to exceptional monastic science leaders that will support monastic-initiated projects, as well a new teacher fellowship program for center teachers; (3) Conduct a new 3-week annual institute for 30 nuns in Dharamsala, and produce a leadership team of 20 nuns who can then help shape their own future engagement; and (4) Initiate an annual 2-week institute for 30 monastics in Bhutan that generates a demand for science as well as leadership capacity to meet that demand. These activities will produce monastic-leadership with a culture of scientifically-grounded inquiry, and champion home-grown projects that delve into the frontiers of Buddhism and science.