XFEL: Buddhist master visits European XFEL

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2018/03/12
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Buddhist master visits European XFEL

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The Gyalwang Drukpa takes a look inside one of the underground tunnels during his visit to European XFEL on 11 March. Copyright European XFEL

On Sunday 11 March the Gyalwang Drukpa, spiritual leader of the Drukpa lineage of Buddhism and founder of the aid organisation ‘Live to Love’, visited European XFEL. Together with three of his Kung-Fu nuns, he visited the European XFEL experiment hall and the underground tunnels, before taking part in an evening podium discussion entitled ‘Connecting Worlds – Science meets Spirituality’. He was joined on the podium by European XFEL managing director Prof. Robert Feidenhans’l, leading scientist Dr. Adrian Mancuso, and Prof. Arwen Pearson and Prof. Rolf Bader from the Universität Hamburg. The panel discussion, moderated by NDR journalist Jan Ehlert and Rosemary Wilson from the communications group at European XFEL, touched on a range of topics exploring the synergies of the fields of modern science and spirituality and discussed what they might learn from each other.

Following the event, the Gyalwang Drukpa said: "Tonight you gave me the gift that is the assurance that beautiful things can be created by merging spirituality and science. Although I have jetlag, I am excited and full of life from the energy you all give me! I think we should all be able to work
together further to contribute something beautiful to the world."

European XFEL managing director Robert Feidenhans’l: “It was such a great event and it was so exciting to meet such interesting people from other cultures and disciplines with different world views.”

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European XFEL Managing Director Robert Feidenhans'l speaks during the podium discussion event on 11 March. Copyright European XFEL

Podium guest Prof. Arwen Pearson: “It was a really enjoyable evening. I learnt a lot, especially about Buddhism, and very much enjoyed listening to what my colleagues had to say on topics outside our usual sphere of discussion. We actually found a lot of common ground, it was a lot of fun and I look forward to taking part in similar events in the future!”

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Podium guest Prof. Arwen Pearson from Universität Hamburg. Copyright European XFEL.

Prof. Rolf Bader said: “It was a wonderful evening, and a pleasure and an honour to talk to such great people. The discussion was very lively and I hope we can continue this in the future as there is obviously still a gap between the world of physics and spirituality, and much we can still do to bring these two worlds together. I really enjoyed talking to these amazing people and hearing the many wonderful ideas and theories about all the different aspects we discussed.”

One of the Drukpa nuns also spoke to the audience about how their Kung-Fu practice gives them strength and confidence, as well as presenting their work to raise awareness for social issues such as women equality and human trafficking, and helping the needy in their communities.

European XFEL would like to especially thank Gianna Wabner, President of Live to Love Germany, for initiating this event, as well as the entire Live to Love Germany team for help and support in organising the event.