John Dunne, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Contemplative Humanities -Center for Healthy Minds and Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
Ana Cristina Lopes, PhD
Researcher in residence at Stanford University’s Ho Center for Buddhist Studies
James Gentry, PhD
Assistant professor at Stanford University’s Department of Religious Studies
A monastic professor of Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, Kathmandu, Nepal
...and guest lecturers to be announced
Buddhism has featured in the Western imagination as a “rational religion,” a “philosophy” that is mostly compatible with science. While the notion of Buddhism as “scientific” is both controversial and open to exaggeration, in the last few decades, this positive image has helped to facilitate direct encounters between science and Buddhism in multiple settings—scientific research on contemplative practices, dialogues between scientists and Buddhist scholars on key topics such as mindfulness, or collaborative presentations at academic conferences and so forth. Neuroscientists in particular have taken a strong interest in Buddhism, and, as a result, numerous collaborative research agendas have emerged with significant and sometimes surprising results in areas ranging from fundamental questions about the nature of consciousness to more practical concerns about the treatment of anxiety and depression. Some prominent Buddhist scholars and practitioners have in turn incorporated scientific perspectives into more traditional contexts for teaching the Dharma.
The consequences of these mutual engagements for both Buddhism and science, broadly construed, are manifold. Perhaps the most evident outcome is the so-called “Mindful Revolution,” a movement that derives in part from scientific experiments conducted on meditation practitioners in laboratories, and their subsequent application in domains beyond traditional Buddhist contexts. While legitimate questions about the cultural complexities of this engagement have been raised, the mindfulness movement and other related developments have provided an opportunity to examine our notions of human potentiality and the good life in transformative ways.
This course critically explores the many facets of the encounter between Buddhism and science by fostering in students a self-reflective awareness of their positions within its history and future aspirations. To this end, our program features an immersive contemplative “laboratory” for the exploration of key topics such as the nature of knowledge, emotions, and identity within the idyllic setting of a retreat center nestled in the Austrian pre-Alps and accredited through the Centre for Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute, Kathmandu University, Nepal.
Students will live this encounter for four weeks through engaging in a combination of three components: The first component consists of daily Buddhist contemplative practices and meditation; the second focuses on traditional scholarly studies. Both of these components will be guided by a traditionally trained Tibetan Buddhist monk-scholar. The third component is a course led by Profs. John Dunne, Ana Cristina Lopes, James Gentry, and guest lectures by Antoine Lutz. This academic course will critically analyse the different expressions of the encounter between Buddhism and science, historically and in the contemporary period, through discussions of scientific papers, traditional Buddhist literature, science and technology studies (STS), and anthropological literature. No prior knowledge of Buddhism or science is required.
5th July to 30th July - Academic Course
Monday to Friday
7:30 to 8:30 - Guided Morning Meditation
9:45 to 11:00 - Classic Buddhist lecture by monastic teacher
11:15 to 12:30 - Contemporary academic class
Afternoon - Time for self-study, reading and online discussion
2nd to 8th August - Optional Meditation Retreat
Offering a chance to contemplate your new knowledge, and practice alongside others. At the center we have 2 sessions daily, combining silent meditation and traditional buddhist text recitation which you are welcome to join, or practice as you wish in your rooms or amongst the beautiful outdoors.
Weekends and Special Events
Occasionally, classes will also be offered on weekends and students will have the opportunity to join additional instructions or meditation practices offered by the centre on a donation basis.
31st July is our annual Summer Fest - a chance to socialise with the extended community, meet other practitioners, have a dance and enjoy an Austrian Summer.
Note: The daily schedule is subject to change and may be adjusted.
There are several housing options for students to choose between staying at the centre or arranging their own housing off-site. Either way, students have the option to have all their meals at Gomde.
There are various, simple, low-cost guest houses and home stays in close distance to Gomde. Students who prefer more privacy and like to stay at a distance from their place of study can rent a room. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be served at Gomde.
Live like a Buddhist!
Those who would like to take this course as an opportunity to immerse themselves in the “Buddhist way of life” can choose to stay at the centre. This gives students the chance to participate in daily evening meditations and interact with the volunteers as well as take part in spontaneous group activities. This is the best way to gain first-hand experience of living in a Buddhist community.
Through being surrounded by people who attempt to apply Buddhist teachings in their daily lives, students can become aware of their meaning in the day-to-day context, test them in their personal interactions and thereby find deeper insight into the meaning of this philosophy and ethics for themselves.
Accommodation will be offered in simple single rooms, with or without private bathrooms, or comfortable 2-4 person dormitories.
In order to stay at Gomde, one will be kindly asked to help with household chores such as washing dishes or simple cleaning tasks, for about 45 minutes daily. This ensures the smooth running of the centre, which is fully run by volunteers. Contributing to a place of practice is considered a virtuous deed, a form of applied meditation. This engagement helps to deepen one’s understanding of and sense of being part of a like-minded community. It also means it possible for Gomde to make board and accommodation affordable for everyone. Should you not be able to or wish to contribute in this manner, there is no obligation.
Course Costs: €1200 EUR (€1000 early bird offer until April 22nd)
Registration fee at Kathmandu University: $400 USD
Administration costs: $200 USD
The Buddhist center Gomde invites participants to stay on-site, with meals provided in exchange for a donation.
The recommended donation for meals during all 4 weeks of the course and weekends is: €10 per day
The donation guide for accomodation…
… dormitory with 3-4 beds: €15 per night
… single room with shared bathroom: price on request
… single room with private bathroom: price on request
There are various, simple, low-cost guest houses and home stays within close distance to Gomde for students who prefer more privacy and like to stay at a distance from their place of study.
The costs for off-site accommodation vary, between €40 and €100 per day. Please get in touch with us to ensure we find the right place for you.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be served at Gomde, at a recommended donation of €10 per day.
If you should not be able to give according to the recommendation, please let us know in advance. We hope to find a suitable solution for everyone.
Should you be able to give more, you enable Gomde to offer food and accommodation to students who have fewer resources.