Twelve years ago, the Sager Family Foundation, the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, and the Dalai Lama's private office began a groundbreaking program called Science for Monks to teach Western science to Tibetan monks and nuns. Recently, Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama announced a decision by the leaders of the monasteries to make the study of Western science part of the core curriculum required of all monastic scholars in the Gelug tradition.
Beyond the Robe tells the story of the decade long development 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. Beyond the Robe is a collection of essays from the monks and scientists containing the first insights that have come out of this historic effort. Beyond the Robe follows the monks' study of science, but it is not a science book. The real story here is what the study of science has revealed about who these remarkable men and woman really are and the much bigger role that they seem so suited to fill.
"I hope that Beyond the Robe helps you to feel closer to the monks and nuns and to better understand their immense potential to provide leadership in their world and further insight into ours. Instead of simply admiring them from afar, let's all get close enough to really 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
Robert Thurman teaches at Columbia University, where he holds the first endowed chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies in America. He received Upasika ordination in 1964 and Vajracharya ordination in 1971, both from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He is a cofounder of Tibet House in New York. Robert Thurman has translated numerous sacred Tibetan texts and is the author of Essential Tibetan Buddhism, Inner Revolution, and many other books on Tibetan Buddhism.
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."