Biology faculty member discusses science and philosophy with Dalai Lama

Meena Balgopal and Dalai Lama
Photo by Gelek Palsang

Following up on her recent summer trip, Colorado State University Associate Professor of Biology Meena Balgopal returned to India to teach science workshops for 40 Tibetan Buddhist monastics in December. During this trip, she had the opportunity to speak with the Dalai Lama as well.

“In this photo, he’s telling me that Indian philosophy plays an important role in shaping Buddhist thoughts, and together with modern science, can help solve many of the world’s problems,” she said.

Balgopal has been assisting, with her colleagues from Emory University, in leading workshops on how to teach scientific research methods, with a focus on ecology. There has been a push from the Dalai Lama to instruct more Buddhist monastics in scientific processes and thinking. “These monastics are science directors, coordinators, teachers and leaders at their respective monasteries based all over India,” Balgopal said.

The Dalai Lama visited to see the final research projects. “He spent quite a bit of time discussing how both monastic and science students should be familiar with both modern science and philosophy to have a more complete understanding of logic and reasoning,” she said. “I couldn’t agree more.”