Their meeting captured headlines; the waiting list for tickets was nearly 2000 names long. If you were unable to attend, this book will take you there. Including both the papers given at the conference, and the animated discussion and debate that followed, The Dalai Lama at MIT reveals scientists and monks reaching across a cultural divide, to share insights, studies, and enduring questions.
Is there any substance to monks’ claims that meditation can provide astonishing memories for words and images? Is there any neuroscientific evidence that meditation will help you pay attention, think better, control and even eliminate negative emotions? Are Buddhists right to make compassion a fundamental human emotion, and Western scientists wrong to have neglected it?
The Dalai Lama at MIT shows scientists finding startling support for some Buddhist claims, Buddhists eager to participate in neuroscientific experiments, as well as misunderstandings and laughter. Those in white coats and those in orange robes agree that joining forces could bring new light to the study of human minds.
A cornucopia of riches for anyone interested in what is known and yet to know about the nature of the mind. The dialogues weave a compelling tapestry of perspectives, insights, good-natured banter, and ideas for new studies that will fascinate not only scientists, but anyone interested in meditation and mind-body interactions.
In the late 1980s, Colorado's Mind & Life Institute initiated a series of semiprivate conversations involving the Dalai Lama, leading figures from the contemplative traditions, and prominent Western scientists with the aim of enhancing our understanding of the mind. Accessible to nonspecialists, this work, extraordinarily well edited by Harrington and Zajonc, takes the reader to the two-day-long Mind & Life XI, a conference cosponsored by MIT's McGovern Institute in 2003. On each of three topics--attention and cognitive control, imagery and visualization, and emotion--two papers, one presented by a Buddhist practitioner and the other by Western researchers, combine with a panel's reactions and questions from the 1200 observers in pursuit of empirically testable hypotheses integrating Buddhist and scientific approaches to understanding the mind. The conference reported experimental results that challenge Western assumptions, while Zajonc's summarizing reflections note several exciting research collaborations spawned by the event.
Can the sciences of the mind and brain learn anything from Buddhism? Plenty, say the neuroscientists and Buddhists--the Dalai Lama among them--who attended a conference at MIT in 2003 to explore how both disciplines investigate reality. This compelling book lays out the issues discussed there. Most illuminating is seeing how the different approaches (subjective in Buddhism, objective in science) can complement each other, and how open Buddhists are to accommodating scientific progress into their thinking.
The practical applications of this meeting are fascinating; something whole is created from these conversations that leaps off the pages and gives a reader new reason to remember that science has more to do with life than with destruction and death.
The Dalai Lama at MIT is a "broadcast" of an historic 2003 meeting between the Dalai Lama and 22 world-renowned scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology...The Dalai Lama at MIT does an excellent job of introducing readers to Buddhist and scientific approaches to understanding human consciousness.
- 304 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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