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09 November, 2005

The Dalai Lama in Washington

The Voice of America web site today reported on the start of a three day conference in Washington to be attended by the Dalai Lama. His Holiness spoke yesterday, before the opening of the conference, saying that his trip was to talk of scientific and not political matters. Still, at least one reporter was interested in his thoughts about China and Tibet.
According to the VOA web site:The Dalai Lama in Washington, November 8, 2005

The Tibetan spiritual leader gave a brief answer, saying that although the Tibetan government in exile and Beijing have been in direct contact, he hasn't seen improvements on the ground, inside Tibet. "So far, [there has been] no such sign," he said. "Still, things are very, very repressive."
The Dalai Lama is in Washington to attend a three day conference called "The Science and Clinical Applications of Meditation", which is sponsored by the Mind and Life Institute, "a non-profit organization that promotes dialogue between modern science and contemplative traditions, such as Tibetan Buddhism." "So, science and Buddhists, I think both are actually trying to find reality," the Dalai Lama said. The VOA article goes on to note that:
These ideas were given weight by the meeting's co-sponsors, Georgetown University Medical Center and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
It was also reported that nearly 500 (or 900, depending on source) scientists had signed a petition urging sponsors to cancel the conference. "Many of those who signed the petition believe the field of neuroscience risks losing credibility if it mixes science with spirituality".
• Read the entire article at the VOA web site.
• Visit the The Science and Clinical Applications of Meditation web site.
• Read a related story on the Washington Times web site.

UPDATE November 11, 2005: An article appears on the NPR web site (audio available) called "The Links Between the Dalai Lama and Neuroscience".

Update November 12, 2005: The Washington Post is running a follow up story called "Dalai Lama Gives Talk On Science: Monk's D.C. Lecture Links Mind, Matter".

UPDATE November 18, 2005: today is running an article based on a talk given by the Dalai Lama at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience on November 12, 2005 in Washington DC. The article appears to be, at least in part, a transcript of portions of the talk, and is very much the "voice" of His Holiness, rather than that of his translator. "I feel, therefore, that a dialogue between neuroscience and society could have profound benefits in that it may help deepen our basic understanding of what it means to be human and our responsibilities for the natural world we share with other sentient beings."

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