BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Oct 25, 2012) - During his visit to Boston last week, His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressed attendees of a private benefit at the residence of Boston philanthropist Bobby Sager to support the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT. The Dalai Lama discussed the historic addition of Western science to the core curriculum at the major monastic institutions of Tibetan Buddhism in India.
"Now at these monastic institutions, science as a subject has been incorporated into the monastic curriculum, not just for selected individual students," the Dalai Lama said. He has described the addition of Western science as the most important change in the monastic curriculum in centuries. Topics like neurobiology, cosmology and quantum physics will now be taught alongside traditional topics of monastic study, such as Buddhist philosophy.
The Dalai Lama recognized the critical role that Science for Monks has played over the last 12 years in building the groundwork. Sager Family Foundation, the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, and the Dalai Lama have been partners in this initiative since 2000. Science for Monks started as a pilot program, sending professors from U.S. universities to India to teach science to a selected group of 40 monks and nuns at two-week workshops outside of their traditional monastic studies. Science for Monks represents the first time in the 1,500 year history of Tibetan Buddhism that Western science was taught as part of the monastic curriculum.
"Initially, some senior monks and abbots were hesitant to study science," the Dalai Lama said. "But then eventually, after we explained the importance of learning science, they supported it."
"12 years ago, we started this renegade program called Science for Monks outside the required monastic curriculum," Bobby Sager, founder of Sager Family Foundation, said at the event. "Now studying science has gone into the bloodstream of Tibetan Buddhism."
Sager's new book "Beyond the Robe," published by powerHouse Books, tells the story of the Science for Monks program over this 12-year period 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 containing the first insights and observations that have come out of that historic effort. Sager's dynamic photographic portraits of the monks and nuns provide an insider's look at who these men and woman really are.
An excellent example of the potential for Tibetan monks and nuns to play a larger role is "Science, Monks and Technology," a new program by Sager Family Foundation and The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT announced at the October 16 event in Boston. The initiative creates a platform for Tibetan monks and nuns to collaborate with engineering and business students at MIT in designing and implementing technologies that can impact communities in the Tibetan diaspora, such as solar power or clean water.
"Monks have long served as leaders and community organizers in the Tibetan diaspora in India and Nepal; Science, Monks and Technology will enable them to add an additional dimension to their societal contribution," said the Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi, director of the Dalai Lama Center at MIT.
For information about Sager Family Foundation, visit teamsager.org, become a fan on Facebook, or join the conversation on Twitter at @SagerFoundation. For information about The Dalai Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT, go to thecenter.mit.edu.
To purchase "Beyond the Robe," go to www.beyondtherobe.org. A preview is available at www.powerhousebooks.com/preview/beyondtherobepreview.pdf. All of Sager Family Foundation's proceeds from this book are going to support programs that promote teaching Western science to Tibetan monks and nuns.
About Bobby Sager
Bobby Sager is a tough-minded businessman who made a fortune by seeing opportunity where others have not. In 2000, Bobby and his wife and kids founded the Sager Family Traveling Foundation & Roadshow (teamsager.org). Three-dozen trips later, the Sagers have established their own special brand of hands-on, eyeball-to-eyeball philanthropy. Working together as a family, the Sagers apply their entrepreneurial skills and Rolodex to make an impact in areas of conflict and crisis. With Bobby, there are no handouts, no charity. His philanthropy uses business principles and business accountability whether it's fostering entrepreneurship in Rwanda and Palestine, training teachers in Pakistan, or a leadership program for Tibetan monks.
Using his camera as a way to do his storytelling, Sager's photographs have been featured in numerous publications and have been seen by over 4 million people at concerts and events around the world. He authored "The Power of the Invisible Sun" (Chronicle Books, 2009), which was featured on NBC's "The Today Show" and ABC "World News," and UNICEF selected the book as one of its featured publications.
Bobby has been building a network within the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) that helps business leaders to maximize their individual ability to make an impact. Sager has been recognized by YPO as its first ever recipient of their Global Humanitarian Award. He is also Honorary Consul General for the governments of both Rwanda and Nepal and has given speeches at venues around the world including the General Assembly Hall of the UN and the Sydney Opera House. His philanthropy was the inspiration for the NBC prime-time drama "The Philanthropist" (2009).