Columbia News Video Forum

Wisdom and Meditation Liberate the Human Being in Indo-Tibetan Thinking

This fall the Center for the Study of Science and Religion presented the Cummings and Fetzer Lectures on "Meditative and Contemplative States" during which four scholars explored objective knowledge and subjective experience to discuss the complex interactions between meditation, wisdom, religion, and health. Religion Professor Robert Thurman explained how Buddhism and the Western system of higher education overlap in objectives. Understanding and education are liberating forces to the Buddhist school, and meditation is a means of channeling one's focus and achieving wisdom and insight by "passing the superficial and coming to a deep understanding on some point of nature." As Thurman points out, this kind of penetrative and investigative knowledge is also the goal of higher education in the West. The major difference between the West and the Indo-Tibetan school is that while Buddhism seeks to develop the body, heart, mind and soul, Western education places its emphasis on developing the intellect. As Thurman says, "All effort goes into developing a sharp and clever brain but not in developing a good heart." And he notes that according to the Dalai Lama having a clever brain without a good heart can be dangerous. The lecture series is webcast in its entirety on the Center's website.

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Published: Dec 03, 2001
Last modified:Sep 18, 2002