By Nhan Vo, Researcher on Nalanda and HH Dalai Lama
His Holiness the Dalai Lama 14th (HHDL) stands as a major figure in the 20th-21st century. His unique life journey includes leadership of the Tibetan nation, patriarch of the Gelugpa Buddhist lineage, Nobel Peace Prize winner (1989), erudite Buddhist monk, and author of numerous bestselling books. This article explores specific aspects of HHDL’s life, focusing on his commitment to the Nalanda tradition and ancient Indian values.
1. Pursuit of Nalanda Tradition and India’s Ancient Values in His Four Commitments
HHDL’s four commitments, detailed on his website, encompass devotion to universal happiness, harmony among religions, preservation of Tibetan culture, and a distinct commitment to the Nālandā tradition. His dedication to preserving Tibetan heritage, rooted in Nālandā teachings, positions him as an integral part of this ancient tradition.
Furthermore, his last commitment underscores his mission to integrate ancient Indian knowledge into modern values. HHDL emphasizes the relevance of ancient Indian understanding, especially in the realms of the mind, emotions, and techniques like meditation. He envisions a synthesis of ancient and modern knowledge, fostering a more integrated and ethically grounded society.
2. Efforts to Connect Wisdom Between Buddhism and Science
HHDL’s engagement with science, highlighted in works like “The Universe in a Single Atom” and the “Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics” series, showcases his interest in bridging Buddhism and science. Recognizing similarities in their approach to understanding reality, he sees science as a valuable tool for exploring the material world.
His proactive involvement in dialogues, conferences, and collaborations with scientists reflects a commitment to mutual learning. HHDL aims not to unify science and Buddhism but to interrogate both, fostering a comprehensive understanding of the world. His assertion, “Buddhism is the Science of the Mind,” exemplifies his belief in the complementarity of the two disciplines.
3. Presentation and Classification of Buddhism Foundations Corresponding to Modern Constructs
In connecting Buddhism with science, HHDL introduces a novel approach to presenting Buddhist teachings. Three subclasses, covering Buddhist science, philosophy, and beliefs, provide a modern scientific presentation of traditional Tripitaka content. This innovative method aims to facilitate a more accessible and non-intrusive approach for modern scientists and educators.
4. Promoting the Rebuilding of the Nalanda Lineage Through Spiritual and Moral Education
HHDL actively contributes to the revival of the Nalanda lineage, particularly in India. His commitment to incorporating ancient Indian knowledge into modern education is evident in various initiatives, including becoming the Dean of the Faculty of Nalanda Studies at Goa University and establishing the Institute of Nalanda Ancient Studies in Bodhgaya.
His emphasis on training the mind and reducing destructive emotions aligns with his belief in India’s potential to combine ancient psychology with modern education. Collaborations with Indian educational institutions and advocacy for programs in psychology, ethics, and philosophy reflect his dedication to this cause.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s multifaceted contributions, from preserving Tibetan heritage to connecting Buddhism with science and promoting Nalanda’s revival, paint a portrait of a visionary leader. His commitment to integrating ancient wisdom into contemporary values reflects a profound understanding of the evolving human experience.
- Central Tibet Administration. “His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the living example of Nalanda Tradition.”
- Dalai Lama. Various works, including “Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics” and “The Universe in A Single Atom.”
- Goa University. “Launch Of Dalai Lama Chair for Nalanda Studies at Goa University.”
- Mind and Life Institute. “Celebrating 35 years of Bringing Science and Contemplative Wisdom.”
- Tibetan Review. “Dalai Lama to Set Up Nalanda Academy Near Bodh Gaya.”