DHARAMSHALA: His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Honorary Chairman of the Mind & Life Institute, flanked by a galaxy of scientists and scholars of multidiscipline commenced the 33rd Mind & Life Dialogue here in Dharamshala today.
Gathered at main temple of His Holiness the Dalai Lama were over 200 noted scientists, educational specialists, Buddhist scholars and philosophers representing diverse disciplines and countries.
For the next five days, the intellectual group led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama will focus on education in light of His Holiness’s longstanding priority and deep commitment to secular ethics education initiatives. The group will explore education models to train younger generation to be compassionate, caring citizen and committed to the common good.
“The program will closely focus on social-emotional education and how compassion, ethics, and attention training can be more fully integrated into existing educational frameworks,” said the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
In his opening remarks, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke of his two main purposes for dialogue with scientists. The first purpose, he said, is to expand knowledge; second, to help promote inner values of love, compassion, forgiveness through scientific understanding and secular way.
His Holiness lamented that inspite of high advancement in science and technology, human sufferings and emotional crisis are ever growing.
“This very moment, when we are enjoying peace and comfort, another place on the same planet, same human beings in Syria, Yemen and African states are being killed. That is today’s world. We cannot ignore this thing. We can’t be indifferent. We cannot solve these problems immediately but if we make effort now, I think later part of the 21st century can be a little better”.
“Now, more than ever, we need sense of concern for other’s wellbeing, compassion on the basis of the sense of oneness of 7 billion human being. A universal framework of moral ethics that include both believers and non-believers,” His Holiness said.
The Tibetan spiritual leader reiterated his secular stance to dealing with human problems. “We need to cultivate inner values through scientific understanding and secular framework. Science should be able to promote qualities like warmheartedness and compassion as a matter of physical and emotional health”.
Holding hands of his long-time friend and neuroscientist, Dr Richard Davidson, His Holiness affirmed his commitment to serve humanity as long as human suffering remained. “So long as space remains, so long as sentient beings remain, May I too remain, to dispel the sufferings of the world,” His Holiness said his prayers.
Dr Richard Davidson, Neuroscientist, Professor at University of Madison, in his presentation, said that Mind & Life Dialogue were deeply enriched and pioneered by the conversations raised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama since late 1980s; on secular education, applying scientific wisdom to modern day issues and exploring contemplative traditions to cultivate virtuous qualities of the mind as an antidote to destructive emotions.
“It was during the 8th Mind and Life in Dharamshala, when His Holiness very pointedly turned to the scientists and said that we should begin to investigate the possibility of practices of contemplative traditions that may help to cultivate virtuous qualities of the mind as an antidote to destructive emotions. If we find that they are valuables, we should do to disseminate them widely. That moment was a pivotal moment for Mind and Life in helping to catalyze a new generation of scientists who have been pursuing that aspiration,” Dr Davidson said.
Susan Bauer-Wu, Ph.D., President of Mind & Life said, “I thank His Holiness for his dedication to the Mind and Life Institute, being a curious scientist, for being a leader of secular ethics and bringing compassion throughout the world. Over 26 years we have been bridging research with real-world application. our ultimate goal is to alleviate suffering and promote human flourishing.
“Your Holiness, in keeping with your commitment to secular ethics and education of youth, we will delve deeply into how we can prepare today’s young generation for their roles in the rapidly changing world..Here we will discuss new education models designed to equip students with the capacity for attention, empathy, love, compassion, and forgiveness. The stakes couldn’t be higher now”.
Today’s session will discuss on ‘Early Child Development and Social Emotional Learning’. Presenters for the topic are Richard Davidson, Neuroscientist, Professor at the University of Madison, Director of Centre for Healthy Minds, Michel Boivin, Developmental Psychologist, Quebec, Canada, Daniel Goleman, Author of Emotional Intelligence and many books.
This is the 33rd Mind & Life Dialogue organised by the Mind & Life Institute and the 13th edition, held in Dharamshala. The Mind & Life Institute is a non-profit institution dedicated to building a scientific understanding of the mind in order to reduce suffering and promote well-being.