On December 14th, 2019, I had the honor of presenting as part of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative’s graduate event. This event, held at the new Drepung Gomang debate courtyard in India, recognized the completion of the 6 years of the implementation phase and the beginning of the sustainability phase.
The morning of December 14th included the inauguration of the new courtyard by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Then ETSI staff and faculty presenting the progress made to His Holiness, including presenting copies of the textbooks which have been published in Tibetan. His Holiness then provided a teaching on the text “Recognizing My Old Mother” to the assembled crowd. (Official photos of the event can be found here)
In the afternoon, the top students were presented with their certificates by His Eminence the Gaden Tri Rinpoche. All students who completed the 6-year curriculum then received their certificates. Then a panel discussion on Philosophy and Physics occurred, where I was one of the presenters. It was a fantastic opportunity to present what I have learned from 5 years of teaching in the ETSI program, as well to hear from others and answer some questions from the monastics in attendance.
This celebration was awe-inspiring. While I have only been involved in ETSI since 2015, I have gotten to know many people who have participated in the effort to bring modern scientific education to Tibetan Buddhist monastics for about two decades. His Holiness the Dalai Lama had an incredible vision to transform the monastic education to include science, and many people have worked hard (including the monastics!) to make it a reality.