By Tenzin Monlam
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar releasing _Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics, Vol. 1- The Physical World_ in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on January 7, 2018. Photo - OHHDL_Lobsang Tsering
DHARAMSHALA, December 8: The Tibetan Spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar yesterday jointly launched a book on Buddhism, which according to Dr. Thupten Jinpa, General Editor of the series, provides ‘contemporary readers an opportunity to engage for the first time, from a scientific perspective, with ideas and insights of Indian Buddhist thinkers’.
“This series was conceived by His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself and compiled under his careful supervision by a team of scholars over many years. It brings together classical Buddhist scientific and philosophical explorations of the nature of reality, within a framework that is accessible to the modern reader,” said the General Editor of ‘Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics’.
The first volume of the 4-volume series focuses on the science of the physical world. Dr. Jinpa who is also a principal English translator to the Dalai Lama since 1985 shared that the series is a ‘historic achievement’ and the careful extraction and organization of the views of the great Indian Buddhist thinkers within a framework of scientific enquiry is in itself a ‘revolutionary achievement’.
Seeing it fit to have launched the book in the holy land of Bodhgaya, Dr. Jinpa said, “These volumes have the potential to make a significant contribution to the history of ideas. To date, the history of ideas, especially of science, remains predominantly Eurocentric, with little attention paid to the great civilizations outside the Western world.”
The Tibetan spiritual leader has often maintained that the Buddhist psychology, philosophy and logic should be studies as subject, beyond the context of religion, to better understand the workings of the mind, so that disturbing emotions and mental afflictions could be better tackled, something that is not possible either weapons or money.
“If we think of our literature in terms of science, philosophy and religion, the religious part is only of interest to Buddhists, but the science and philosophy can be of interest to anyone. I believe we can profitably incorporate ideas and values from these writings into the modern education system,” said the 82-year-old Tibetan leader while thanking everyone involved in the project.
He added clearly stated that it is not to propagate Buddhism but to explore how Buddhists can contribute to the well being of humanity.
Attending the book launch at the invitation from the Dalai Lama, CM Nitish Kumar received a portrait of the Buddha as a special token from the exiled Tibetan leader. The CM expressed his hopefulness that the book, which makes the insight of the Nalanda Tradition available to a wide readership, will serve as an inspiration for promoting peace in the world.