Visions of Compassion: Western Scientists and Tibetan Buddhists Examine Human Nature

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This book examines how Western behavioral science--which has generally focused on negative aspects of human nature--holds up to cross-cultural scrutiny, in particular the Tibetan
Buddhist celebration of the human potential for altruism,
empathy, and compassion. Resulting from a meeting between the Dalai Lama, leading Western scholars, and a group of
Tibetan monks, this volume includes excerpts from these extraordinary dialogues as well as engaging essays exploring points of difference and overlap between the two perspectives.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The virtues discussed in this book need to be brought more to the foreground in society; indeed, the survival of the human race may depend on it."--Contemporary Psychology, APA Review of Books

"This is a work that will be accessible for undergraduates and graduates with an interest in ethics, altruism, Buddhist spiritual practice, evolutions, and neuro-psychologyThe essays are fully referenced, serving as a valuable resource for further reflectionI heartily recommend this work to individuals interested in the emerging dialogue among religion, spirituality and science."--Religious Studies Review, Harvey B. Aronson

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195130430
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard J. Davidson is Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin. He is co-author or editor of seven books and is a Core Member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Mind-Body Interactions. Anne Harrington is Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University. She is the Associate Director of the Harvard University Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative and a Core Member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Mind-Body Interactions.

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Table of Contents

Part 1: Historical and Philosophical Background
1. Training the Mind: First Steps in a Cross-Cultural Collaboration in Neuroscientific Research, Zara Houshmound et al.
2. The Thing Known or the Knowing Eye? Conceiving Compassion between Science and Buddhism, Anne Harrington
3. Is Compassion an Emotion? A Cross-Cultural Exploration of Mental Typologies, Georges Dreyfus
4. Kindness and Cruelty in Evolution, Elliott Sober
5. Understanding Our Fundamental Nature, His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Dialogues, Part 1: Fundamental Questions
Part 2: Social, Behavioral, and Biological Explorations of Altruism, Compassion, and Related Constructs
6. Toward a Biology of Positive Affect and Compassion, Richard Davidson
7. Empathy-Related Emotional Responses, Altruism, and Their Socialization, Nancy Eisenberg
8. Emergency Helping, Genocidal Violence, and the Evolution of Responsibility and Altruism, Ervin Staub
9. Altruism in Competitive Environments, Robert H. Frank
Dialogues, Part 2: Pragmatic Extensions and Applications
Appendix: About the Mind and Life Institute

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