Beyond the Robe tells the story of the Science for Monks program and what it reveals about the larger role Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns can play in their monasteries, in their communities, and in the world at large. Science for Monks represents the first time in the 1,500-year history of Tibetan Buddhism that Western science is being taught as part of the monastic curriculum. Beyond the Robe is a collection of essays containing the first insights and observations that have come out of that historic effort. The heart of the book is the perspectives of the monks and nuns themselves as well as reflections from the scientists who teach the workshops. The story of the monks' journey through science to leadership is told by many contributors. More than 30 people have contributed essays, quotes, and photographs. Bobby Sager embraces his role as a convener of their voices and uses his photography to draw the reader into the dialogue. Bobby's dynamic portraits and fine-art photography provide a more complete picture of the monks and nuns and the context in which Science for Monks is taking place. His goal is to create an experiential space where readers can digest the contributors’ thoughts and to provide some “Wow, I didn’t know that!” moments.
"My point of view is grounded in many years of eyeball-to-eyeball experience. Over the past 12 years, I spent time living and studying with monks and scientists while we developed the Science for Monks program. My family foundation, the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama have been partners in this initiative since 2000. My greatest wish for this book is that it helps bring more attention to the untapped potential of the monks and nuns to provide leadership in their world and further insight into ours. Instead of simply admiring them from afar, let's get close enough to listen."
"Bobby Sager has been not only a most generous and dedicated benefactor of the Science for Monks program since it was launched 12 years ago, but also he is a direct witness to its flourishing. His testimony and insight are key to an in-depth understanding of this unique encounter between two major traditions of knowledge, Buddhist contemplative science and modern Western science. His account provides a welcome encouragement to this wonderful meeting of minds and hearts at the service of humanity."
"Beyond the Robe has many fascinating dimensions and makes a critical contribution to Tibet, to Buddhism, and to our world today. The space it opens is the world of the Tibetan Buddhist monastic universities, still thriving in Indian exile. Within that world, we encounter, in beautiful and thought provoking ways, the living tradition of Buddhist monastics, their realms of study, debate, prayer, and meditation, and their living intellectual and experiential encounter with the modern worldview, with its discoveries, technologies, and anxieties."
About the Author
Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. Born in northeastern Tibet in 1935, he was as a toddler recognized as the incarnation of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and brought to Tibet's capital, Lhasa. In 1950, Mao Zedong's Communist forces made their first incursions into eastern Tibet, shortly after which the young Dalai Lama assumed the political leadership of his country. In 1959, Chinese forces occupied the city, forcing His Holiness to escape to India. There he set up the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, working to secure the welfare of the more than 100,000 Tibetan exiles and prevent the destruction of Tibetan culture. In his capacity as a spiritual and political leader, he has traveled to more than sixty-two countries on six continents and met with presidents, popes, and leading scientists to foster dialogue and create a better world. In recognition of his tireless work for the nonviolent liberation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. In 2012, he relinquished political authority in his exile government and turned it over to democratically elected representatives. He is the author of numerous books, including The Good Heart, The Meaning of Life, The World of Tibetan Buddhism, and The Compassionate Life.
Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, author, translator, and photographer. He is the author of several books including "The Monk and the Philosopher", a dialogue with his father; "The Quantum and the Lotus", a dialogue with astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan; "Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life s Most Important Skill"; and "Why Meditate?" His books have been translated into over twenty languages. He has lived, studied, and worked in the Himalayan region for over forty years.
"What Sager calls the untapped potential of this dedicated and waning group of individuals, as well as their ability to provide a larger contribution to the human race, is emphasized in his new book, Beyond the Robe."