Moscow, Russia: Eight monks from seven Buddhist monastic universities located in Karnataka state, South India, received an internship in neurophysiology and psychophysiology in Russia. The initiative supported by His Holiness the Dalai Lama was organized by the Foundation for support of brain research named after Academician N.P. Bekhtereva, Save Tibet Foundation (Moscow) and Tibetan culture and information centre (Moscow).
The initiative is based on His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s idea that the Western scientific methods of studying meditation should be applied by the followers of Buddhism themselves in collaboration with Western researchers. From this perspective, the Russian science, particularly its physiological and neurophysiological schools, holds a special place in the world as it combines technological and holistic approaches and explores the subject on the basis of a hypothesis (of a whole), which in many ways brings it closer to Buddhist science and the approaches it implements.
The representatives of Sera Jey, Sera Mey, Tashi Lhunpo, Drepung Gomang, Drepung Loseling, Gaden Shartse and Gaden Jangtse monasteries were selected on a competitive basis. All of them underwent preliminary training in the scientific centres of their monasteries.
While in Russia, the future monks-researchers visited Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, attended lectures and participated in seminars arranged by teachers and researchers at the Institute of the Human Brain of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Lomonosov Moscow State University, the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology (RAS), the Center for Consciousness Studies of Moscow State University and the Higher School of Economics. In addition to theoretical lessons, the monks also received practical training in electroencephalography (EEG).
Telo Tulku Rinpoche, Honorable Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Russia, Mongolia and CIS countries called the program of collaboration between Russian scientists and Buddhist scholars “a wonderful breakthrough for both monastic and scientific communities”.
“The monks’ internship,” he explained, “is a part of a comprehensive program developed by a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Svyatoslav V. Medvedev that aims at exploring the inner world of Buddhist practitioners and various types of meditation they practice. It will help scientists to understand the phenomena of consciousness and the human brain. Аfter the training conducted in Russia that included lectures on western philosophy, neuroscience and neurophysiology, both sides were quite impressed by how much they learned from each other and realized the importance of collaboration for the sake of humanity. We are looking forward towards to further development of this initiative which is called Prof. Medvedev’s Tukdam Research Project”.
It is assumed that beginning with next year, the monks will start working in the laboratories of their monastic universities and initiate research on the processes that occur in the brain during meditation.
Aссording to a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Svyatoslav V. Medvedev, “the internship helped to create a coordinated team of researchers able to conduct scientific studies in the field neurophysiology and psychophysiology which is a rather remarkable achievement”.
-Filed by Office of Tibet, Moscow