DHARAMSHALA: “Today, more than ever, we need scientific means to educate younger generation moral principles based on warmheartedness and assert the fundamental recognition of the basic oneness of humanity,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama said in his opening remarks at the 2nd Dialogue series with Russian Scientists on ‘Understanding the World’ at Tsuglagkhang, Dharamshala, 3 May.
‘The Dialogue between Russian Scientists and Buddhist Scholars: II Dialogue on Understanding the World’ is being organised by Tibet Cultural and Information Centre (Office of Tibet, Moscow) and Save Tibet Foundation in Russia with the support of the Centre of Consciousness Studies at Moscow State University, Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences and others.
His Holiness opened the session by addressing the panel of scientists, experts and observers as brothers and sisters. “I believe that 7 billion human beings are brothers and sisters with same basic nature of compassion,” he said.
“Now scientists have proved that basic human nature more compassionate but still we continue creating lots of problems including killing each other, why? Lack of emotional awareness, shortsightedness and lack of sense of oneness of 7 billion human beings,” he noted in his opening remarks.
“Given today’s reality, self centred attitude and concern for one’s own interest is unrealistic, ignorant and shortsighted. When it comes to making the world a better place, concern for others is tantamount”.
Arguing that religious teachings have fallen short in advocating love and compassion, he said the onus is on modern science to educate the importance of oneness of humanity, universal ethics and emotional wellbeing.
“Although all major religious tradition carry message of love on basis of sense of oneness of entire sentient beings, as far as Buddhism is concerned. But these religious teachings have been there for over thousand years, carrying message of love and oneness, these have not been very effective.
“Now we must find scientific ways to educate people on moral principles based on warm heartedness and oneness of 7 billion people. Time has come to make every effort to educate younger generation on oneness of humanity and that each of our future depend on the rest of the world,” said the Nobel Laureate.
Speaking indepth on his long association with modern scientists, His Holiness averred that there are common scholastic grounds between Modern Science and Buddhist Science.
“Over 30 years, I have had serious dialogue with modern scientists mainly in four fields: Cosmology, Neurobiology, Quantum Physics and Psychology. These are the common subject between modern science and Buddhist science. Buddhists have different view on the formation of galaxy, evolution and destruction, finally empty space.
“We believe that everything come from space and disappear in space. That is what we can discuss further. In principle, we believe in several Big Bangs, not just one. Prominent Indian Nuclear Physicist, Raja Ramanna has said that Quantum Physics as a new concept in west, was discovered 2000 years ago in India. Particularly Nagarjuna’s philosophical view offered exactly the same and Buddha’s own teaching, Prajnaparamitra sutra mention these concepts. There is a common ground in Buddhist science and modern science,” he noted.
In his further conversation, His Holiness spoke about the ancient traditional ties between Russian and Tibetans. “When I was young in some big monastic institution, there were some Russians, Tuwa, Kalmyk, Buryats, Mongolians, Tuwa. Some become top scholars. Traditionally we have some connection, then politically during 13th Dalai Lama, there was some contact established with Tsar. During Lenin time, some delegation from Soviet Union also visited Lhasa. Tibetans were cautious at the time.
“Therefore historically we have some connection and I am very pleased to have this second dialogue with all of you,” he concluded.
Telo Tulku Rinpoche, Representative of Office of Tibet, Moscow expressed gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his kindness in gracing the dialogue and introduced the supporters of the event.
Moderator, Professor Konstantin Anokhin, PK Anokhin Institute of Normal Physiology, Moscow said, “Your Holiness, all of us would like to thank you cordially for the invitation. Title of our discussion is ‘Understanding the World’. This is part of your definition in your book, Universe in a Single Atom. So our idea was to built this dialogue as a direct interaction of our Russian participants with your holiness based on your book”.
Professor Pavel Balaban, Director of Institute of Higher Nervous Activity of Russian Academy made the first presentation on Neurobiology and Neuro-Mechanism of compassion and emotion in small animals. He noted that specific experiments have showed how small animals have emotional capacity.
His Holiness interjected asking him how brain’s ability for appreciation is varied in various insects. “I always had this question. I observed that the mosquitos have their own brain. Occasionally, I give blood to mosquitoes. They come and enjoy my blood but there is no sign of appreciation. On other hand, if you feed bird and dogs, they reciprocate with sign of appreciation. So I am curious how and which level in our brains have potential of appreciation.” They further discussed on investigation of compassionate abilities in animals.
The two-day conversation will be based on His Holiness’s book ‘The Universe in a Single Atom: the Convergence of Science and Spirituality’. Each scientist will make a presentation for 20 minutes, followed by interaction with His Holiness.
The first dialogue between Russian Scientists and Buddhist scholars was held in August 2017 on the topic, ‘The Nature of Consciousness’.