Lobsang Tenzin Negi, Emory University

Science is for Monks

What if religions embraced many different forms of enquiry? Championed by the Dalai Lama, the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative (ETSI) seeks to answer questions about the convergence of religion and science. How will the systematic teaching of science to Tibetan monastics impact their worldview and spiritual practice and the nature of dialogue between science and spirituality? Can intimate interactions between these two spheres lead to a more holistic understanding of the human condition and pioneer new ways to solve ethical challenges and relieve suffering?

The Emory-Tibet Science Initiative

The Emory-Tibet Science Initiative (ETSI) is an educational collaboration between Emory University and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. Its mission is to introduce modern science into the core curriculum of Tibetan Buddhist monastic academic institutions.

During a 6-year pilot, ETSI developed a comprehensive science curriculum specifically for Tibetan monastics, created bilingual science texts, instructed 90 nuns and monks in biology, physics, and neuroscience, and launched a program to train monastics to become science instructors. 

Grant Title
Emory Tibet Science Initiative
Legal Organization
Emory University
Project Dates
Start Date: 06 November 2014
End Date: 15 March 2017
Grant Amount

The Next Phase

With this grant, Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, Co-Director of ETSI and Professor of Practice in Emory University’s Department of Religion, enhanced the existing curriculum, created additional bilingual texts, introduced distance learning, continued training of indigenous science teachers, and implemented a sustainable science curriculum in three major monastic universities.

Buddhist leaders previously skeptical to the study of science now value the possibilities of a dialogue between science and spirituality. 


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