The Dalai Lama at MIT

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

New Scientist
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.
Los Angeles Times Book Review

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.
— Susan Salter Reynolds

Greater Good

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.
— Mirka Knaster

Jon Kabat-Zinn
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.
Los Angeles Times Book Review - Susan Salter Reynolds
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.
Greater Good - Mirka Knaster
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.
Library Journal
Mainstream Western brain science has long viewed the operation of the human mind as little more than the interactions of vast numbers of neurons, synapses, and associated neurotransmitters. But 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 (history of science, Harvard) and Zajonc (physics, Amherst Coll.), 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. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.-James R. Kuhlman, Univ. of North Carolina at Asheville Lib. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674027336
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 995,878
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Harrington is Loeb Harvard College Professor and Professor for the History of Science at Harvard University.

Arthur Zajonc is Professor of Physics at Amherst College.

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Table of Contents

  • Contents


Part I: Orientations
  • Introduction
  • Anne Harrington
  • Neurophenomenology
  • Evan Thompson


Part II: Attention and Cognitive
  • Understandings of Attention Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Jonathan Cohen
  • Buddhist Training in Advanced Attention Skills
  • B. Alan Wallace
  • Dialogue: Attention


Part III: Imagery And Visualization
  • Buddhist Perspectives
  • Matthieu Ricard
  • Introspection and Mechanism in Mental Imagery
  • Stephen Kosslyn, Daniel Reisberg, and Marlene Behrmann
  • Dialogue: Imagery and Visualization


Part IV: Emotion
  • An Adhidharmic View of Emotional Pathologies and Their Remedies
  • Georges Dreyfus
  • Emotions from the Perspective of Western Biobehavioral Science
  • Richard Davidson
  • Dialogue: Emotions


Part V: Integration and Final Reflections
  • Dialogue: Integration and Implications
  • Reflections on “Investigating the Mind,” One Year Later
  • Arthur Zajonc
  • About the Mind and Life Institute
  • R. Adam Engle

  • Contributors
  • Notes
  • Index

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