By Tenzin Dharpo
The Dalai Lama with western scientists and academics at the 33rd edition of the Mind and Life conference in Dharamshala on March 12, 2018. Phayul photo- Kunsang Gashon.
DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 12: The premier dialogue initiative between Science and Buddhist views, the ‘Mind and Life’ conference kicked off here at the Theckchen Choling temple on Monday with Tibetan leader and co-founder of the program, His Holiness the Dalai Lama making the introductory remarks on the opening day. It is the 13th time the conference was held in Dharamshala.
The day one of the 33rd edition of the conference discussed the topic of “Early Childhood Development and Social Emotional Learning” with the Dalai Lama and Director of Mind and Life institute Susan Bauer-Wu delivering the opening remarks. Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Richard Davidson, noted Psychology and Child Development expert Michel Boivin and author of worldwide bestseller Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman presented their cases and was moderated by Kimberly Schonert-Reichl.
The Dalai Lama who is a pioneer in bridging science and ancient Indian thoughts on varied fronts said that he refutes some claims by ancient Buddhist masters about the existence of Mount Meru and the world being flat through scientific knowledge. At the same time, he also said that the newly discovered fields on human emotions and mind by western science are 3000 years old in the ancient Indian context.
“It is useful to combine these two things,” the 82 year old said while adding that the two prime purposes of the discourse is to expand the understanding of the external and the internal phenomenon and to strive to enable peace and reduce the chaos that exists in the world.
The six-day conference will deliberate on varied topics such as Social Emotional Learning and Education in the Classroom, Meta-Awareness and Attention Training in Education Research, Ethics and Compassion in Education Research, Evaluation and Implementation: Challenges and Opportunities for Human Flourishing under the main theme of “Reimagining Human Flourishing”.
Noted experts Sophie Langri, Tara Wilkie, Jennifer Knox, Amishi Jha, Sona Dimidjian, Thupten Jinpa, Rob Roeser, Matthieu Ricard, Sona Dimidjian, Sona Lupien and Patricia Jennings among others will present on their respective fields through the week.
The ‘Mind and Life’ institute was established in 1987 after the Tibetan leader Dalai Lama, Adam Engle, a lawyer and entrepreneur and Francisco Varela, a neuroscientist saw the importance of scientific as well as Buddhist understanding of various topics such as mind, contemplative science and psychology, and to bridge the divides amongst the various perceptions.