January 2023 - ETSI Concludes Year 2 Winter Intensive Programs

The Year 2 Sustainability Phase Winter Intensive Program was held at Drepung Loseling Meditation and Science Center, Mundgod, India in December 2022. It consisted of a five-day ETSI Translation Workshop followed by a twelve-day ETSI Research Methodology Training.

The translation workshop focused on cultivating techniques and skills to produce good quality translation and was attended by 59 participants from ten monastic institutions, including former Tenzin Gyatso Science Scholars. The workshop was led by the ETSI resident translator Dawa Tsering Drongbu with guest speakers drawn from different fields. Ms. Tenzin Paldon, Head of the Science Department at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, shared her years of experience as a science translator and interpreter. Aside from engaging the students in active discussions, the facilitators had the students work individually and in groups and their work was reviewed critically by their peers. 

The translation workshop was followed by the ETSI Research Methodology Training, which had 64 participants from ten monastic institutions, including Jangchup Choeling Nunnery. This training was facilitated by the ETSI unit leaders Dr. Robin Nusslock and Dr. Nicole Gerado, with equal support from Dr. Ken Paller, Dr. Marcia Grabowecky, and Dr. James Glazer—all from Northwestern University. The monastic students learned different methods of measuring brain activity using mobile EEG Muse and wearable Oura ring technology. They also learned to observe and measure behavioral changes and use behavioral methods to understand physiological data. One key component of research is to make sense of the data using different analyses, including graphing, statistics, and developing databases. Additionally, they learned how to write research proposals, find, read and understand research articles. The pinnacle of the training consisted of monastics presenting group research that they designed and developed to study the effects of various contemplative practices on physiology.

One of the highlights of this year’s research training was the setting up of the first sleep laboratory at Drepung Loseling Meditation and Science Center. The lab was established under the expert guidance of Dr. Ken Paller, Dr. Robin Nusslock, Dr. Nicole Gerado and Dr. Marcia Grabowecky and the first experiment was carried out successfully. The sleep laboratory is first of its kind in the Tibetan community, let alone in the compounds of a monastery, and as such marks a historic moment in the collaboration between western science and Tibetan Buddhism. The faculty, the students, and the ETSI staff were thrilled at the prospect of this lab, and possibly many others in the future, becoming a center of new knowledge that could benefit the entire humanity.