Ten Zen Questions

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I have been practising Zen for nearly thirty years; not as a Buddhist, but as a scientist with a great dislike of religions and dogma. Fortunately Zen lends itself to deep inquiry and a rejection of orthodoxy and so I have managed not to rebel but to learn from its traditional techniques of calming the mind and looking into the nature of experience. In this book I bring together my scientific training with my Zen practice to delve into ten great questions. Among them are Who is asking the question? and Am I conscious now as well as some traditional Zen koans. The aim of the book is to see whether personal experience can help penetrate the scientific mystery of consciousness. Many neuroscientists and philosophers working on consciousness believe that a first person approach should be able to do so, but few have attempted to bridge the gulf between science and personal practice. The book begins with two introductory chapters; Falling into Zen describes my own practice and how I set about tackling the questions, and The problem of consciousness outlines the scientific and philosophical issues at stake. There are then ten chapters devoted to the questions, a very brief conclusion and, finally, a critical commentary from my own Zen teacher. I found struggling with these questions an enormous challenge. The idea of writing about them is not to provide final answers but to show how intellectual inquiry and meditational inquiry can be brought together to tackle some question that are, at the moment, real mysteries for science.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781851686421
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications
  • Publication date: 3/25/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,445,659
  • Product dimensions: 5.49 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Blackmore, Susan |s Susan Blackmore is a psychologist and writer whose research on consciousness, memes, and anomalous experiences has been published in over sixty academic papers, as well as book chapters, reviews, and popular articles. She has a regular blog in the Guardian, and often appears on radio and television. Her book The Meme Machine (1999) has been translated into 12 other languages and more recent books include a textbook, Consciousness: An Introduction (2003), and Conversations on Consciousness (2005).

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Table of Contents

Falling into Zen 1

The problem of consciousness 22

1 Am I conscious now? 41

2 What was I conscious of a moment ago? 50

3 Who is asking the question? 60

4 Where is this? 69

5 How does thought arise? 77

6 There is no time. What is memory? 92

7 When are you? 106

8 Are you here now? 118

9 What am I doing? 735

10 What happens next? 150

Being conscious 160

Response of a Zen Master 166

Further reading 175

Index 177

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