Being There

Being There

The Dalai Lama Gets Buddhism and Neuroscience to Go Face to Face

By Katy Butler

January/February 2006

It was early November in Washington, and the press conference, in Constitution Hall just off The Mall, was crowded with reporters and photographers. His red-robed Holiness the Dalai Lama, flanked by men in classy dark suits, including meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn, University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Richard Davidson, and the president of Georgetown University's Medical School, was pondering my question about science and religion. "Given the American conflict between devotees of evolution and adherents of creationism," I'd asked, "how does Your Holiness reconcile your interest in modern science with the creation myths of Tibetan Buddhism?"

Tenzin Gyatzo—Ocean of Wisdom, embodiment of compassion, the exiled Buddhist monk believed by many Tibetans to be the 14th reincarnation of the first Dalai Lama, born in 1935 in a part of Tibet so medieval that a pocket watch was an advanced machine—gave a rumbling cough and flung a corner of his robe higher over one bare, muscular shoulder. He was vigorous and down-to-earth, and, despite the honorifics, there was nothing self-consciously holy about him. Looking over his glasses at me and 20 or so other reporters from publications ranging from The Washington Post to The Shambhala Sun, he began speaking rapidly in Tibetan.

"The basic understanding of the emergence of cosmos in Buddhism is based on the…

Already have an account linked to your magazine subscription? Log in now to continue reading this article.

(Need help? Click here or contact us to ask a question.)

Not currently a subscriber? Subscribe Today to read the rest of this article!

Read 14019 times
Comments - (existing users please login first)
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *