Science, Monks, and Technology Leadership

Buddhist monastic science leaders and lay Tibetan science students, 32 in total, met for 5 days at the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Studies in Bangalore to kick off a novel initiative within the community in exile — “Science, Monks, and Technology”. Working in small teams, these motivated scholars participated in a 5-day leadership training program and identified nascent project ideas that will utilize technology to benefit specific Tibetan communities in India.

Science, monks, and technology workshopThese projects are poised as solutions for some of the most immediate problems faced by the diaspora at large. Some of the projects include alternative energy solutions — solar and bicycle power for remote settlements in India where electricity is often scarce, rainwater harvesting for regions where the ground water sources are becoming depleted, and sustainable farming techniques that will create non-toxic bio-pesticides to mitigate use of conventional chemical pesticides.

Other projects will meet the growing demand for science education among the Tibetan community, supporting new science centers at the monasteries, and online video lecture series to promote new and continuous learning among science teachers. Eight projects in total were selected, and teams of monks and lay students formed around each of the selected project ideas.

“Science, Monks, and Technology Leadership” is a novel programme spearheaded by the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT, and in partnership with the Science for Monks programme. The programme builds off of the over 12 years of experience of the Science for Monks programme to provide science education and leadership training for monks and nuns, and activates these leaders in a very new way — employing technology to bring direct and immediate benefit to the community.

Further, partnering with The Centre at MIT and lay Tibetan science students will build bridges between contemplative and Western science learning — bridges that are focused by ethical leadership development and technology-based solutions to real-world problems.