Connected Activities between the University of Pisa and Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa

It is with pleasure that we share the statement of the Professor Bruno Neri, professor of the Department of Information Engineering of the University of Pisa, concerning the joint activities between the University of Pisa and the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute, result of the scientific collaboration agreement signed between the two bodies in 2016.

The second three-year term of the connection between the University of Pisa and the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute in Pomaia started on the 25 February 2019. The first three-year period, opened by the Conference of Alan Wallace at the Faculty of Engineering, entitled “A Radically Empirical Approach to the Study of Consciousness”, concluded in the last months of the 2018, with the scientific mission at the University of Sera Jey which goal is to collect biomedical data on meditators with different levels of experience during meditation sessions. The most important events in the scientific, popular and educational fields were the Symposium “The Mind-science of Reality” and the three editions of the Master in “Neuroscience, Mindfulness and Contemplative Practices“. The Symposium, which had as its honourable guest of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who was awarded for the Honorary Degree in the Clinical and Health Psychology, was attended by internationally renowned scientists (among others: Federico Faggin, Michel Bitbol, Giuseppe Vitiello) together with distinguished scholars of the Mahayana tradition (Mathieu Ricard, Geshe Tashi Tsering, the Dalai Lama himself). The Master which is now at the beginning of the fourth edition, has had as unquestionable success as, perhaps, unexpected, registering a surge in the number of members from the initial 14 to the current 48. This circumstance seems to be a good omen for start in the best way the second three-year period of this singular and fruitful collaboration.

The program for the first part of the second three-year period is full of interesting and original ideas. On the research front, the analysis of data collected during the mission at Sera Jey began, which should lead, within the current year, to a first scientific paper written by several researchers from the University of Pisa and scholars of the University of Sera Jey. For the first time, in the same scientific work, the point of view of the scholars of the Mind in first person (experience, awareness, contemplative practices) will intersect with that of neuroscientists, physicists and bioengineers, experts in the instrumental and objective analysis of neuronal correlates .

On the training front, the second three-year period should see the birth of an online version of the Master’s degree in English that will complement the current residential version, while the first Postgraduate Course in “Comparative Epistemologies”, held in collaboration by teachers, will start in September 2019 with the scholars of the two institutions. The course aims to provide, in the first part, a synthetic vision of Epistemology, understood as the Science of Knowledge, from the point of view of the great Eastern traditions, with particular regard to the Indo-Tibetan one. In the second part the points of contact and the differences with the visions developed in Western culture will be highlighted. Specific attention will be paid to the limits placed on the knowledge of Reality by modern science and, in particular, by Neuro and the Psycho Physiology and Quantum Physics.

In 2020 it is planned to organize the second edition of the “The Mind-science of Reality” Symposium focusing on one of the major areas identified during the first edition: Science of the Mind and Quantum Mechanics; Comparing Science of the Mind and Neuroscience; Science of Mind and Philosophy

The first public event organized within the framework of the Convention will take place on June 28th at 11:00 am in the Aula Magna of the Medical School of the University, when Geshe Dorje Damdul, currently Director of Tibet House, Cultural Center of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at New Delhi will hold a conference entitled “Divergence and Convergence between Quantum Physics and Buddhist Philosophy of Emptiness”.

Geshe Dorje Damdul says: “The theory of dependent origination and the relativity principle of Arya Nagarjuna reflects a great parallel with the general and special theory of relativity of Albert Einstein.” And then he proceeds: “Both represent an inheritances of great value for Humanity: modern science, including technology, has the capacity to bring greater well-being to our physical world, while Buddhist philosophy has a great capacity to bring total serenity to the mental challenges of stress, depression and so on. We, human beings which is a complex psychophysical system, need both. “What better reflection could one propose to summarize the objectives and motivations of the collaboration between the University of Pisa and the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute?

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