His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar exchanging greetings at the start of the book release ceremony in Bodhgaya on January 7, 2018. Photo: OHHDL

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HHDL-CM-book release-bodhgaya-2018Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India — Following the end of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching in Bodhgaya, Chief Minister of Bihar, Shri Nitish Kumar joined the spiritual leader to release the English translation of the 'historic' first volume of Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics.

Dr Thupten Jinpa, General Editor of the series, introduced the first volume, saying, "This series was conceived by His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself and compiled under his careful supervision by a team of scholars over many years. It brings together classical Buddhist scientific and philosophical explorations of the nature of reality, within a framework that is accessible to the modern reader. Of the four volumes in the series, the first, which focuses on the science of the physical world, is being officially released today.

"The creation of this series represents a truly historic achievement. Firstly, the careful extraction and organization of the views of the great Indian Buddhist thinkers within a framework of scientific enquiry is in itself a revolutionary achievement in the history of Buddhist thought. Thanks to His Holiness's vision, contemporary readers have for the first time an opportunity to engage, from a scientific perspective, with ideas and insights of Indian Buddhist thinkers.

"These volumes have the potential to make a significant contribution to the history of ideas. To date, the history of ideas, especially of science, remains predominantly Eurocentric, with little attention paid to the great civilizations outside the Western world. These volumes on science, however, document a sophisticated tradition of scientific thinking that flourished in ancient India. The great Indic schools all developed sophisticated understandings of the workings of the human mind, as well as meditative techniques for training and regulating our mind and emotions.

"It is most fitting that this historic series is being launched here in Bodhgaya, which lies within the State of Bihar, where the great Indian monastic universities of Nalanda, Vikramashila, and Odantapuri once flourished," Dr Jinpa added.

Thanking the Chief Minister for his attendance and addressing the audience, His Holiness the Dalai Lama added, "If we think of our literature in terms of science, philosophy and religion, the religious part is only of interest to Buddhists, but the science and philosophy can be of interest to anyone. I believe we can profitably incorporate ideas and values from these writings into the modern education system. In a world in turmoil because of people's unruly minds, what we are doing is not propagating Buddhism but exploring how we Buddhists can contribute to the well-being of humanity.