In January 2020, I had attended a two-day conference titled “Quantum Physics, Brain Function in modern science and Buddhist Philosophy” in Bengaluru. The main theme of the conference was an exploration of the common ground in our understanding of reality with researchers in the field of physics, psychology, neuroscience and philosophy. The conference was attended by scholars, students, monastics and people from various other fields who had an interest to explore the various findings in each of these domains.
There were excellent presentations by erudite researchers, scholars and monastics. While several concepts put across by these enthusiastic presenters went flying right above my head and some I marvelled at, a memorable moment was when one of the researchers, Dr Pranshu, ended his talk with something that greatly impressed upon my mind. It was the final stanza from Shantideva, an eight century Indian philosopher’s dedication prayer and this is how it goes:
For as long as space remains,
For as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world.
I was moved by the sheer beauty of these words and was left in wonderment about beings like Shantideva, who stand as exemplars of our true aspiration and very own potential. I feel this is at the heart of education for it tirelessly brings out oneness and the unceasing spirit of the sheer delight and beauty of existence in us all despite all our apparent differences, shortcomings, stumbling, miseries and suffering. Perhaps, I have just begun to understand Swamiji and so many other illumined teachers who have graced this land. Among many other things for which I am deeply grateful to Swamiji, I am thankful to his magnanimous heart for providing us with this wonderful platform to learn, share our stories, connect and empower each other.