(TibetanReview.net, Jan09, 2018) – Joined by Bihar’s Chief Minister Mr Nitish Kumar, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Jan 7 released the first of four volumes on ‘Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics’ at Bodh Gaya, Bihar. This volume, which is on the science of the physical world, is a compilation of ideas and insights of ancient Indian Buddhist thinkers such as Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, Asanga, Bhasubandhu, Dignag and Dharmakiriti.
The project’s general editor, Dr Thubten Jinpa, has called the publication a historic achievement. He says in his introduction to the volume: “The careful extraction and organisation of the views and insight of the great Indian Buddhist thinkers within a framework of scientific enquiry is in itself a revolutionary achievement in the history of Buddhist thought.”
The project was conceived by the Dalai Lama and the compilation carried out under his supervision by a team of Tibetan scholars over many years. “It brings together classical Buddhist scientific and philosophical explorations into the nature of reality within a framework that is accessible to the modern reader,” Dr Thubten Jinpa has said.
Speaking on the relevance of the project, the Dalai Lama has said on the occasion the psychology, philosophy and logic that Tibetans had studied in Tibet from childhood had a wider relevance in the world today. “It seemed to me that the science of mind, philosophy and logic in our literature could be studied in an academic way beyond the context of religion.”
He was further quoted as saying, “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. In a world in turmoil because of people’s unruly minds, what we are doing is not propagating Buddhism but exploring how we Buddhists can contribute to the well-being of humanity.”
He has emphasized that it was not with weapons or money but by coming to better understanding the workings of the mind that we can learn to tackle our disturbing emotions and mental afflictions.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed gratitude to the Dalai Lama for blessing the state and his people with his visit. “I feel deeply happy and gratified whenever the Dalai Lama visits Bodh Gaya. His discourses have inspired and transformed a countless number of people. I am hopeful that this new book, which has been compiled under his supervision, will serve as an inspiration for promoting peace in the world.”
He called it most fitting that the volume was being launched at Bodh gaya which lies in the state where the great ancient Indian monasteries of Nalanda and Vikrama Shila had flourished.
The committee members of the project are Tromthok Rinpoche, currently the Abbot of Namgyal Monastery; Geshe Yangteng Rinpoche of Sera Mey Monastic College; Geshe Jangchup Sangyey, Abbot of Ganden Shartse Monastery; Geshe Chisa Drungchen Rinpoche, of Ganden Jangtse College; Geshe Lobsang Khechok of Drepung Gomang College – who were all present at the volume’s launch – and Geshe Ngawang Sangye of Drepung Loseling College, who missed the event.