The Pioneer Phase: SmD from 2001 to 2011
During his visit to Rikon in Switzerland in 1998, the Dalai Lama challenged the Tibetan monks and nuns to familiarize themselves with western natural sciences in addition to fulfilling their monastic duties. The knowledge so gained should be passed on by the students in their own monasteries – and someday in Tibet.
The Tibet Institute Rikon (TIR) accepted the challenge of His Holiness and in response created the “Science meets Dharma” Project. Since 2001 monks and nuns have been taught in different monasteries or the monastic universities of Bylakuppe and Mundgod (Karnataka, South India) in natural sciences. Over the last 10 years a total of 39 western teachers have served between 6 and 24 months each in these monasteries. They were supported by Tibetan translators and teachers. The lessons covered the subjects of physics, chemistry, biology, geography and, in some cases, English. They were offered as an elective subject during the monastic duty free time over noon; two lessons a day, five days a week.