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Tibetan Monastic Science Leaders

Zhang Zhung Group

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Science Room Launched - 2009

"Most of them like to read articles and we give them to read in their room and keep a list of what has been borrowed from the section and when he wants to return it"

The group launch a new section of the monasteries library dedicated to science. Yungdrung, one of the group members, is also the monasteries librarian, making the library a natural home for the new science room. In preparation for opening the room, they organized books and materials received from their western supports and set-up furniture to make a comfortable working room. On days where the monks are free from traditional studies, the group opens the room and hosts open houses where members from the monastery stop by to read articles and books on science. They also screen science movies that have been translated into Tibetan language.

"When I opened some 10 to 15 monks came – they really enjoyed watching movies on cosmology"

Visitors are allowed to borrow written works, and they have set-up a borrowing system that allows monks to check out books and articles to be read in their rooms at leisure. Sometimes the visitors ask difficult and profound questions and the group helps them get the answer from the science teachers in the nearby school.

"Some of them ask funny questions, but most of the time they ask about things like the universe, like how are the planets moving?"

Sharing Experiences in Science with Monastery – 2009

During their bi-monthly meetings the group meets to discuss the work they have done individually and to complete group assignments.

Every time members from the Bon monastery leave to attend a science education program, upon their return they are requested to give a talk to the entire monastery of approximately 300 monks. The Abbot, who is extremely supportive of science education, asks them to talk about where they went, what they did, and what they learned. The session typically lasts 1.5 hours with several questions about science raised by the monk audience.

Group Expands – Fall, 2009

"We meet together with and we decide when to open the science room and who will take responsibility for the room that day."

The Zhung-Zhang group started meeting together with two more monks that recently started attending workshops organized by the Emory Tibet Science Initiative, doubling the group size to 4.

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