A Huge Leap: A conversation with Achok Rinpoche

Achok Rinpoche (AR): I feel very fortunate. Why? Because I’m still alive. Not only me, you are still alive too. You’re still healthy, and I’m still healthy enough to come over here and talk to you, to share little bits of my knowledge and experience. That’s why I feel fortunate. I could have died a long time ago, even at the time of my childhood. Because all conditions on which my survival depends can change overnight, causing my death. Every single condition. Because of the blessings of the Buddha, all the conditions that I’ve met, instead of causing me trouble helped me to survive and come over here. Now, to survive means to eat food, day by day, and to sleep, day by day. Is that the purpose of being alive? If that’s the purpose, than I should have had no regrets if I had died long ago. Because there’s not much meaning in living only for myself. It doesn’t make sense.

So, what should I do? Until now, I’ve been crying for myself. And I haven’t cried much for other people. I don’t know if this is the case for you too. Maybe you haven’t cried much for yourself. No matter how much I cry, the situation remains the same. So maybe it’s better to cry for other people. That’s what I call compassion. The essence of the message of the Buddha, which came from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is compassion and love. I feel that this is the the most beneficial and most important message for mankind. Not only human beings, all sentient beings. Right now, for instance, at this moment, what can I do? I can share the knowledge and experience I have, information that I got from other people. Hopefully this will help you.

Rob Hogendoorn (RH): Rinpoche, you received a traditional monastic education within the Tibetan Buddhist Geluk tradition. The Geluk tradition lays special emphasis on ethics, expressed through monastic discipline, as an indispensable foundation for the study and practice of Buddhism. Moreover, this tradition regards sound scholarship a prerequisite for Buddhist meditation. To this end, the Geluk curriculum aims to provide monastics with the intellectual skills that enable them to subject Buddhist teachings to prolonged, rigorous analysis. Through dialectical debate, monks gradually learn to penetrate and defend extremely complex Buddhist philosophical positions. Having completed the demanding curriculum after 15 to 25 years, a monk may formally compete for one of three levels of the Geshe degree. Few of those who begin this training, however, do in fact achieve such a high level of scholarship.

By way of introduction, I’d like to focus first on the reception of the Science for Monks program within the Geluk monastic tradition, of which you are a distinguished member. Assuming that this program puts Tibetan monks in a position very similar to that of Western converts to Buddhism, we will try to explore some of the dynamics between Western Buddhists and their Tibetan teachers, to see what your experience can teach us on the nature and scope of intercultural transmission. How did His Holiness explain and motivate his views to you when he first asked you to help establish the Science for Monks program, and what were your first thoughts upon his request? How did your staff and colleagues at the Library react?

AR: Let me explain some of the history of the science education for Tibetan monk-scholars in the great monasteries in South India. His Holiness told that already at the time of Nalanda university, Indian Buddhist scholars like Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Shantideva, Dharmakirti, Chandrakirti, Dignaga and Vasubandhu had wide-ranging dialogues and discussions with Indian masters who were not Buddhists. His Holiness expressed his admiration for those Indian Buddhist pandits. The Dalai Lama respects them even more than the Sixteen Arhats. The reason is, that through their activities Buddhism was enriched. Without their contacts and dialogues with non-Buddhist masters Buddhism would not have been this rich philosophically.

Today, Buddhism has become acceptable for Westerners. Western scientists respect Buddhism more and more, and all non-Buddhist Indian masters and their schools have gone. It has become irrelevant to discuss and study the differences and common grounds between Hinduism and Buddhism, because Hindu schools have more or less disappeared. What philosophy or field of knowledge is respected most today? We believe that Western science is the most relevant current knowledge. Therefore, the time has come to learn Western science. We must study the curriculum and methods of science education within monasteries such as Ganden, Sera and Drepung, which are now known as Buddhist orthodoxy. However, if you’d go there yourself and said “I’m going to teach science” the abbot and senior monks would probably say: “No, thank you. We’re not going to listen. We don’t have enough time.” But, when the Dalai Lama said that now it is time and that it is important to study and learn Western science, all abbots and senior geshe’s either said yes, or kept quiet.

My colleagues at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives agreed how important it is to set up science education in the monasteries, but actually this task is not their concern. This task is up to the abbots of the great monasteries. His Holiness told me to see the head of the Nyingma monastery in Bylakuppe, Penor Rinpoche, as well, about the importance of learning western science in the monastery. Penor Rinpoche is a highly respected lama within the Tibetan community. I agreed, so I went to see Rinpoche and explained the whole idea. His response was: “Let alone science education, I usually don’t even allow monks to learn the English language in my monastery. But, if you’re going to insist, I will send you one or two of my students to attend a science workshop.” Out of his compassion.

We set up the first science workshop in 2000, and we continued so that until now we have held five science workshops. We have participated in the Mind and Life conferences twice. I have no scientific background myself, but despite my lack of experience His Holiness told me to organize science workshops for the monks. To my surprise, the past five science workshops have been very succesful. I appreciate these workshops very much, and I thank His Holiness for giving me such a wonderful and important job. Frankly, I believe these are historical events for Tibetan buddhists. I also appreciate the teachers from the United States, the sponsors, coordinators, translators, everybody that I have worked with. Clearly, without their collaboration and support the science workshops would not have been possible. Right now, we’re looking forward to participate in the next Mind and Life meeting, from 16-21 October 2004.

RH: There was another initiative as well, to translate Western scientific texts into the Tibetan language. How is this developing. I understand that Richard Feynman’s Six Easy Pieces has already been translated? Have any other texts been translated yet?

AR: At this initial stage, we haven’t developed a Tibetan vocabulary equivalent to the scientific terminology yet. We have to built that, and we found that a not so easy task. His Holiness told us from the beginning, that translating scientific texts into Tibetan we should not look for Tibetan words all the time. We may have to use English words instead. For instance, Tibetan Buddhist texts were translated from the original Sanskrit a long time ago, but we are still using some Sanskrit words. The pronunciation of these words has been so Tibetanized that probably the Indian pandits would not understand what we are saying. From the beginning His Holiness has encouraged us to continue working on translations.

After we completed Six Easy Pieces, it was recommended that we should start translating a work on conceptual physics based on lectures of Richard Feynman. We have done a lot, and there are but a few chapters awaiting completion. A first draft translation is expected to be ready early next year. However, a final translation shall require further editing and discussion, for several translators are involved. Because each translator has his own ideas and style, so we are looking for a unified terminology which I expect won’t be simple.

RH: It reminds us of the time when Indian Buddhist texts were translated into Tibetan. The whole process took many generations, and also required a very precise terminology. Do those involved perceive the current efforts as similar?

AR: Well, it’s too early to say. We’ve only been doing it for the past five years. We would definitely want to adopt a similar procedure though. To me, the brave ancient Tibetan translators’ dedication is the most important point. If only we would have their determination and dedication, the translation of scientific texts shall not be that hard.

Audience (AUD): Does this science education merely provide Tibetan monks with concrete scientific knowledge, for example from physics, biology or chemistry, or does it concern the background of scientific thinking as well? After all, scientific thinking in the West evolved over many centuries, during which philosophical thought emancipated from Christian and other religious beliefs. Thus, science is a way of finding truth, a way of investigating reality, which has a very specific meaning. Is some attention directed towards the philosophical aspects of science, and how they relate to the scholastic, religious thought that is found within in the Tibetan tradition?

AR: Well, to be honest, the past five years we’ve spent only one month each year on the science workshops, allthough we’ve been translating continuously though. From time to time Western and Tibetan scholars have recommended teaching science in connection with Tibetan Buddhist ideas, which I have refused to do. I told them: “Once we study science, we should begin with pure science. This doesn’t mean that we accept everything scientists say, but find out what the pure concepts of science are.” We don’t want to mix physics and biology, for instance, with Buddhist ideas at all. Ideally, Buddhism will be brought in by the students themselves, because they have a deep knowledge of Buddhist philosophy and its intellectual background. My task is to provide them with the opportunity of learning pure science. The interpretation is up to them. At least to me, your question is mostly related to the history of science, and maybe in the future we shall start to learn more about it. At present, we face the small amount of time at our disposal and the vast number of subjects within science and mathematics. It is clear however, that His Holiness will continue to promote the science education.

RH: When His Holiness directly addressed the monastic community himself on the Science for Monks program, he encouraged Tibetan scholars to study modern science not as an opposite view, but as a valid method of discovering truth. Scientists and Tibetan scholars alike, His Holiness seemed to argue, share a commitment to truth and rationality that allows them to base their view of reality on well established facts and sound reasoning. Indeed, His Holiness said, because no religious practice can be cultivated and no religious goals can be attained in dependence on something that is baseless, “we should look for truth wherever it is prevalent”. He is confident, he added, that “truth found through this approach can definitely help develop our inner mind. It will eventually help us realize the fundamental nature of how all sentient beings want happiness and do not want suffering.” How can truth found through the scientific approach help us develop our inner mind? How can it help us realize the first noble truth of Buddhism, the truth of suffering? Does His Holiness indeed suggest that the scientific approach can get us there?

AR: I would say that the real, authentic scientists are looking for non-biased truth. To me that is quite clear. The words ‘truth’ and ‘non-biased’ are easy to say, of course, but in reality scientists and Buddhist philosophers often run into biases. Already, I would say, science and Buddhism share much common ground. Both approaches try to discover truth. Let us hope that Buddhists will find truth using both Buddhist and scientific methodologies, and that scientists as well will be able to combine their own methods with Buddhist methodologies. Then, somewhere down the road, scientists and Buddhists some day will hopefully meet together.

AUD: A diverging point might be that, looking at the history of modern science, much scientific knowledge derives from efforts to practice science for science’s sake only: investigating reality for its own sake. However, within the Buddhist tradition philosophical investigation and other forms of acquiring knowledge are mostly practiced to alleviate suffering. So, the scientific method derives from a perspective that merely investigates what is reality, whereas the Buddha taught that because objects of knowledge are limitless we should limit ourselves to knowledge that alleviates our suffering. Are Buddhism and what we call ‘value-free’ science opposite perspectives?

AR: So far, I believe, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist scholars have not found many contradictions. Buddhist scholars and philosophers have been doing their analyses and investigations in caves in the high mountains, while Western scientists have been working hard in their labaratories using fantastic equipment and expensive gadgets. Both sides find that there’s a very fine line for sincerely looking for truth. These days Buddhists would like to borrow some of the scientists’ equipment, while Western scientists would like to make use of Buddhist meditation, for instance. At the moment, both sides are simply very excited to share knowledge and experience together. Today, rather than discussing suffering and samsara I would like to keep the relation between Buddhism and science more simple. Of course I would be glad to talk about the four noble truths, the suffering of samsara and such, using a more ‘exotic’ terminology, but given the time constraint I’d rather present only the connections that we have found so far.

RH: Reading His Holiness’ address to the monks, it seems as if he considers science education a religious obligation. To be able to convey that message he must make clear to the monks that studying science can be a Buddhist practice. Doing this, of course, His Holiness is taking a huge leap, whereas you yourself may prefer to take the many smaller steps in between.

AR: I agree with you that His Holiness made a long jump over many steps. Why did have to make a big jump? It’s our fault. His Holiness had to make a big jump because we Tibetans for centuries isolated ourselves from the rest of the world. We didn’t know what was going on in the world. All of a sudden, the Chinese ‘liberation army’ came, opened the door and made us come out. There was no other option but to make a big jump.

RH: Have any traditional beliefs that you grew up with become problematic for you by studying science?

AR: In Buddhist teachings it is clearly stated that in order to practice the bodhisattva vow, one has to study all subjects of knowledge. Also, one has to learn as many languages as one can. Buddha Shakyamuni said that when teaching, those who are skilful enough should teach in many languages, meeting the needs of various members of the audiences simultaneously. I do not consider myself to be a bodhisattva, but I do admire the bodhisattva path and those who practice it. From a Buddhist philosophical perspective studying science should not be considered a hindrance. Culturally though, people can perceive it as a hindrance because the study of Buddhism is so vast. One could study it for a lifetime. If you take on additional subjects from science and mathematics, they believe it becomes too hard to cope with. That is one view. Another traditional view is the belief that Buddhism is sufficient, so that there’s no need for studying anything else. To study and practice Buddhism will suffice. All these views are still there. His Holiness made a really big jump, and yet we are following him.

RH: Are those who oppose science education afraid to give up the view that Buddhism will suffice?

AR: Yes, and also the view that completion of the study of Buddhism is an enormous task. It is obvious that studying science takes away time from studying Buddhist texts. Studying Western science for the past five years, we found that the knowledge we gained from science deepened our understanding of Buddhism. If studying science is helpful rather than a hindrance, it is worthwhile to study to study Western science. RH: Could you give an example of how Buddhist insight has deepened through Western science?

AR: There is a school of Buddhism that says that everything we see or experience is mentally projected rather than existing ultimately or absolutely on its own. The experiments of quantum physics suggest the same, for it appears more and more that the result depends on one’s mental attitude. Studying Western science thereby has been very helpful rather than a hindrance. After having studied Western science I think you can return to your study of Tibetan Buddhism and learn much faster, so you may not feel that you have wasted your time. Instead, you have stood to gain much benefit.

RH: Is it confronting other viewpoints that enriches one’s understanding?

AR: Yes.

RH: A few days ago, while preparing for our conversation, I stumbled upon an article from an Australian newspaper. It said that a few weeks after his address on science, His Holiness predicted an earthquake for his hometown Dharamsala in India at a divination ceremony. The prediction was confirmed by all four of the Tibetan state oracles and a number of high lamas. Religious and secular leaders thereupon organized religious ceremonies where prayer services were held to avert the catastrophe. I imagine the confusion of a Western scientist who, upon reading this story on his way to a Science for Monks workshop, confronts his Tibetan students exclaiming: “Predicting earthquakes by divination? Averting a natural disaster by prayer? What were you thinking? What does all this have to do with earthquakes?” How could his Tibetan students respond? Could they give reasonings and arguments that would clear away his confusion?

AR: I don’t know exactly how they should respond to these questions. Clearly, people have often experienced that their prayers were answered. I recall one simple example. The first ten years in exile, we lived in a camp in Eastern India. It was built by British colonials to imprison Indian politicians. After we had fled to India, thousands of Tibetan refugees lived there, including 1,500 Tibetan monks who stayed for the first ten years. I was among them. We lived on weekly rations, and the living standards were somewhat extraordinary. On top of that, our Indian masters sincerely believed we were completely backward.

One of the young monks went to Dharamsala to attend the schoolteacher training there, and he came back for a holiday of just one month. The Tibetan monks didn’t consider him a great scholar, but he was praised by the Indians who said: “Look, he is now a civilized person. But you, abbots and monks, are not civilized at all. You are really backward.” Sometimes they would use terrible language. It was not that they didn’t like us, because they did, but they could not see the value of Tibetan culture and Buddhism that we were bringing. Once however, a faraway relative of one of our Indian masters had a terrible toothache. That Indian master came to see one Tibetan abbot who knew special prayers for toothaches. He wrote the name of that person and some mantra’s on a piece of paper. He said these mantra’s and nailed the paper on a wooden pillar. From that very moment, the poor relative who was hundreds of kilometers away, got better and better. There’s no scientific explanation we can give, but these experiences do exist. Some way our thoughts and our prayers are connect to our individual world. After all, if we believe that our world is nothing but mental projection, clearly our prayer will work if it is not too late.

RH: To me, my prior anecdote was not so much about who is right and who is wrong. I feel that the example shows that Tibetan rationality is embedded in a religious worldview, whereas Western rationality seems much more secularized. It is still embedded, but not in a religious worldview. This explains why, on the issue of divination and prayer, the scientist’s reasoning and that of his Tibetan students simply don’t match. I am not suggesting that an earthquake couldn’t be predicted. I just don’t know.

AUD: What strikes me in this example, is that for Tibetans there’s a simple connection between one’s thoughts and outer reality. That’s an observation, which has nothing to do with religion or worldview. Western scientists don’t see that connection. I don’t see worldviews or religions clashing. I’d like to hear from Rinpoche what common ground Buddhism and science share.

AR: Buddhism says that our individual world is a mental projection. Your world is somehow projected from your mind. This is very relevant I think. Many Western non-scientists will understand and accept this, I think. After all, when we were born there was nothing. At that time even your name wasn’t there. Everything was built afterwards: your name was given; your wealth was given; your education was given, everything. And everything disappears when you die. Your name will be on the headstone, but that’ll be just script. Your name and your wealth will be gone, everything. If this suggests to you that your world has much to do with your mind, and prayer has much to do with thought, mental activities might somehow have an impact on your own world.

After all, the enormous civilization you have evolved in the Western countries simply would not have happened without mental activity or thought. Today everybody is concerned about the ecosytem: earthquakes, global warming, ecological catastrophes. Clearly they all have something to do with human activities. We find it harder and harder to find places to dump our garbage. Air pollution and water pollution are of our own making. Mother Earth is crying, so we must pray for Mother Earth. She is patient, but we don’t know how far her patience will go. Some earthquakes and natural catastrophes are linked with human behaviour. If they are connected to humans’ thought and actions, there is some room for prayers that work.

RH: When they first meet a Tibetan Geshe, for instance, many Westerners feel that they have their rationality in common. Often, a part of the appeal of a Tibetan geshe’s teaching is that it sounds so rational. They give reasons, they argue their case. Do you believe that Tibetan rationality significantly differs from Western rationality?
AR: Let me start with a small joke: I’m a bit concerned about my own image in the eyes of traditional Tibetan lama’s. If I say that there’s no difference, my image might stand to loose!

RH: We won’t tell!

AR: Not all rationality is similar. I’m sure there are many differences, but especially at the deeper levels there are many similarities. Differences on the surface I tend to ignore.

RH: Here, I’d like to link the topic of science education for monks to Western laypeople studying and practicing Tibetan Buddhism. It seems to me that Western converts to Buddhism find themselves in a position very similar to that of Tibetan monks studying science. For, they too meet a perspective that they do not completely share, and it is not self-evident what they should adopt or leave. In a certain sense, Western converts and Tibetan monks are in the same boat. And there’s still something else: whereas Tibetan monks are trying to modernize their perspective and worldview by studying science, simultaneously many Western converts to Buddhism are ‘traditionalizing’ theirs.

AR: They are going back!

RH: I think it is fair to say that there are Western Buddhist that try to adopt views and practices that Tibetans are leaving behind. If this paradox is a problem, what can we do about it?

AR: This paradox can be a problem, but I don’t think it’s a big problem. And when you say that we’re in the same boat, it may be that your boat is a little bit ahead of our boat. The past thirty or forty years Western Buddhist converts have done a vast amount of work. They spend their wealth and time, and many have made authentic Tibetan Buddhist masters. They have achieved a lot. Tibetans like myself and the students of the science education are still behind.

RH: In what sense?

AR: We have studied science for only five years, and the time we spend each year is simply inadequate. RH: Do you mean to say that the effort Western converts make is bigger than the efforts Tibetan monks make?

AR: Absolutely.

AUD: Is it always the same monks who participate in the Science for Monks program?

AR: Some monks come every time, others don’t. Sometimes new students join.

AUD: Nuns as well, or only monks?

AR: Only monks.

AUD: Of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism?

AR: Yes: Karma Kagyü, Sakya, Bön and Nyingma as well as the Geluk tradition, although sometimes inviting the Nyingma tradition is not so easy.

RH: Is the aim for the monks who come to the workshops to try each year to build the knowledge, so that gradually they would be able to teach?

AR: Yes, hopefully.

RH: Earlier you used the term ‘pure science’. Could you elaborate on that?

AR: We are not interested in mixing up Buddhist knowledge with scientific knowledge and then teach it to Tibetan monks. We feel that this may distort knowledge from physics, for instance, that we would rather teach in an authentic manner. Considering the small amount of time we have each year, we feel that combining Buddhist and scientific knowledge could mean a waste of time.
RH: How do you choose the subjects that the monks study?

AR: We are in contact with Western scientists, always looking for their suggestions., We ask them where we should start and how we should proceed. Many great Western scientists said that we should start with physics. From there we could go to biology or chemistry, for instance. In addition to science, they suggested that we should learn Western mathematics.

RH: When the monks go back to their monasteries, apart from teaching others, do they continue with their studies?

AR: That’s a big problem.

RH: Has the fact that they have done these science workshops in any way changed the minds of the geshes or the abbots that are in charge the monasteries?

AR: It’s to early to say whether the authorities in the monasteries have changed their attitude or not. But it seems that those in charge are just beginning to accept the idea of science education.

RH: It is not perceived as a threat, because the monks are returning to their monasteries to continue their studies there?

AR: It depends on our conduct during the one month science workshop as well. They practice the proper religious conduct, so that the workshops do not effect their Buddhist lifestyles. Thus, I think, there’s a bigger chance that the abbots and senior monks will accept this project. Therefore, from the beginning we have been very careful.

RH: I suppose that the availability of translations of study material is another problem?

AR: Yes, this is highly problematic. During the science workshops we invite the physics, biology and mathematic teachers from the Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala, because they already know these subjects. They are able to translate the science classes to the monks, but we don’t know if their proficiency suffices. If the same TCV teachers return to the science workshop each year, we believe that their knowledge of science and of Buddhism will be updated though. This way many Tibetan students in ordinary schools will benefit as well from the experiences of their teachers translating and receiving science classes from distinguished Western scientists. So, there is a double impact on both monks and lay Tibetan students. For this reason, I appreciate what we are doing even more.

RH: What you just said on senior monks and abbots reminded me of another similarity between the Tibetan monks and Western converts to Buddhism. Western converts to the geluk tradition often make a huge effort to study Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. They study, as much as they are able, all traditional topics from the Geluk monastic curriculum, except debate. That is, very few study and practice debate. I am not asking whether this is good or bad, or if they can afford to leave debate aside, but I do see a problem. Because the students do not study debate, traditional Tibetan teachers have no standards to judge them by. Because the standard they judge themselves and their fellow monks by is their performance debate.

It seems to me when Geluk monks who study Western science return to their own monasteries, traditional Geshes will have no standards to judge their new understanding by. They simply can’t tell whether science education has advanced their understanding or not. As you said, abbots and senior monks specifically monitor their behaviour as monks. If they see improvement there they will allow them to resume their science education, because they have no other standard to judge it by.

AR: I would say that so far, the science education that Tibetan monks have received cannot be waged by Tibetan abbots. But this can be scaled by Western teachers. At the end of each workshop, the written examinations that are held and the dialogues during the workshop give Western teachers some idea of the level of scientific understanding that the students have achieved. Of course, their monastic education and conduct as monks is observed by senior monks and abbots.

RH: When I take this issue to the West I imagine a traditional Tibetan Geshe with his students. He cannot judge their understanding by debating them. They don’t study debate, and they don’t speak Tibetan. It would be hard to accept for such a Tibetan Geshe that their development as practitioners and students…

AUD: I think that this is a generalization, because you can’t judge the level of understanding and experience of students purely by debate. You can also see it in terms of their outward behaviour, their understanding and their application and integration.

RH: That’s right, but here I am merely arguing on the level of scholarship. The question is not whether they are good practitioners or not. Debate is the standard by which Tibetan geluks judge each other’s level of scholarship…

AUD: I’m sorry to interrupt, but there’s not much time left. I was wondering if there are some questions from the audience? This is a difficult subject, which we won’t be able to conclude in a few minutes.

AUD: I know a little bit about Buddhism, and a little bit about science. As I was listening to you, I was reminded of a saying by Albert Einstein, who said: “The intuitive mind is a gift of God. The rest of our thinking is the servant. We live in a society that worships the servant, but forgot the gift.” These are interesting words, by perhaps the greatest scientist of the past century. He talks about the mind, not rationality. Analyzing the physics of light, for example, we are left with no other conclusion than that what we see is not there. From a Buddhist point of view, we say that everything we perceive is projection, which is confirmed by science. Scientists, of course, try to comprehend reality. But if you look at their methodology, it starts with an idea of what reality would be like. A scientists’ job is to then make a model and check it, but this model was created in his mind first. Isn’t this where both worlds meet?

AR: Yes, this is one of the areas where we have something in common. I think that David Bohm, a great scientist, said so too. I once attended a lecture of Huston Smith in Palm Springs. He told us that he had managed to invite David Bohm to Washington University in Seattle. If I remember correctly, David Bohm, because of his reputation, had a huge audience. There weren’t enough seats for everyone. After David Bohm started his lecture, one by one his audience left because they could not understand what he was saying. Once the lecture had ended, only a handful members of the audience remained in this huge auditorium. Then, during the question and answer session, one of the few remaining persons remarked that what Bohm had said surely must be very important, but that he didn’t see the relevance of the connection between faith and scientific experiment. David Bohm said that without any faith, scientific experiments would produce only confusion and achieve nothing.

Thank you very much, I believe we have to end here. Thank you for spending your precious time with me, and for your respect. I appreciated sharing my experiences with you. Because I’m a religious man, I’d like to make a dedication. Behind the honest and sincere connection that we have made today must be virtuous karma. I’d like to dedicate that virtue to the sixtynine year old Dalai Lama’s longevity. Also, I’d like to dedicate this merit to the everlasting continuity of the exchange of knowledge between Buddhism and science, and to your health, your longevity, and the prosperity and peace of your country. That’s my prayer for tonight.

Verbatim transcript, Arminius, Rotterdam (the Netherlands), 25 June 2004
AR: Ven. Achok Rinpoche (Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, Science for Monks)
RH: Rob Hogendoorn
AUD: Audience
Rob Hogendoorn