In 2016, after nearly 30 years of the Dalai Lama’s pushing for reform, the first Gelug nuns in India graduated with geshe degrees (equivalent of a PhD degree), and a few science questions were part of their final exam. Enough nuns in India have now been involved with science to establish an opportunity, a demand, and the nuns themselves have requested more opportunities, including an all-nuns leadership program. Nuns constitute about 10% of the overall monastic population.
Nuns, mostly from Gelug nunneries in India, have been involved in nearly all our programs since 2008, but until 2017, nuns never comprised more than about 20% of the participating monastics in any one year. In 2017, we organized our first all-nuns program, a 4-week introductory workshop (see more…) and a 3-day conference (see more…).
“There are interesting differences and similarities in science and Buddhism. For example, a similarity is the concept of interdependence among all organisms and a difference is that science claims that mental functions are carried out by the nervous system.”
Monastic Graduate (Nun) Participant
Science Leadership Institute for Nuns – Dharamsala
Nun science leaders can lead future education efforts for other nuns including nun-grown science-Buddhism projects. The new leaders will undoubtedly contribute their own ideas about what questions about science-Buddhism are important areas to explore, and they will serve to inspire other nuns to follow in their footsteps and other women generally to become involved with science and scientific inquiry. With a vision to reach nuns across India, as well as Nepal, and Bhutan, our initial focus is Dharamsala, as that is where several nunneries have already had some experiences with science learning and our program. It is also the central location for the Tibetan Buddhists living in exile and close to the encouraging voice of the Dalai Lama and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.
Some of the major Nunneries in India, Nepal, and Bhutan (we hope to reach)