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ix foreword This book, The Enlightened Gene: Biology, Buddhism, and the Convergence That Explains the World, represents something close to my heart. Even as a young child in Tibet I was curious about how things work. But at the time I had no access to formal scientific instruction. However, my formal Buddhist education, based as it was on the ancient Nalanda tradition , emphasized critical analysis and the employment of logic and reasoning. Living in exile brought me into contact with many people from many different walks of life, scientists among them, which rekindled my interest in how science explains the world. Eventually, regular discussions between scientists, particularly experts in cosmology, neurobiology , physics, and psychology led to my establishing the Mind & Life Institute in collaboration with Francisco Varela and others. As discussions progressed, it became evident that monastics needed more specific training to be able to participate in dialogue with scientists . Monastic study of modern science began with courses and workshops. In response to an evident need, Emory University began to collaborate with the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives on developing and implementing a systematic plan for educating monks and nuns in modern science. Textbooks and video lectures have been created and translated into Tibetan. A new scientific terminology has been developed in Tibetan, and monastic science teachers have been trained. The result is that a refined science curriculum has now been fully implemented in Tibetan monastic centers of learning. This book, The Enlightened Gene, represents real collaboration between a modern scientist and a Tibetan monk-scholar. Dr. Arri Eisen x foreword has been involved with developing the curriculum of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative from the start. Yungdrung Konchok, a monk of Menri Monastery, a graduate of that initiative, and a Tenzin Gyatso Science Scholar, spent three years studying science at Emory University. Their work represents not only scholarly achievement but also the friendship and understanding that can come from open dialogue between great intellectual traditions. I would like to congratulate the authors on their achievement. I am confident that this kind of collaborative work will add to the advancement of human knowledge, leading in the long term to a more holistic understanding of what it is to be human. I have no doubt that all who read this book will benefit from the insights generated by the convergence of science’s understanding of the material world and contemplative traditions’ understanding of the workings of the mind. The Enlightened Gene ...


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