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dalai lama meets scientists for mind and life Dialogues

Phayul[Monday, April 06, 2009 19:36]
By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, April 6: Leading western scientists and noted academics are once again in the Northern Indian town of Dharamsala, home to the exiled 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, for five days of presentation and dialogues as part of a “Mind and Life” conference series.

The dialogue meeting with the Dalai Lama, including other Buddhist scholar-practitioners, which commenced at a hall in his residential complex this morning, will continue till April 10.

The conference themed: “Attention, Memory and Mind: A synergy of Psychological, Neuroscientific and Contemplative Perspectives” kick-started with an inaugural talk by the Dalai Lama.

This is the 18th Mind and Life Meet. The first meeting took place in 1987.

The Mind and Life Dialogues, more generally termed “Dialogues between Buddhism and the sciences”, were initially started to experiment whether a rigorous exchange could occur between leading modern scientists and the Dalai Lama. Series of regular successful experimental exchanges over the ensuing years lead to the formation of the Louisville based Mind and Life Institute (MLI).

Mind and Life XVIII aims to primarily focus on the subjective phenomenology, information-processing operations, and neural mechanisms of attention, memory and conscious awareness from both scientific and Buddhist perspectives.

“While the relation between attention, memory, and mind is a fascinating area of research in psychological science and neuroscience, it is also of particular interest and investigation in Buddhism, because it is through the contemplative refinement of attention and mindfulness that one explores the distinctive characteristics, origins, and potentials of human awareness, of suffering, and of genuine happiness,” the MLI noted in its overview note on the conference.

Calling the conference as a “reunion” of long time friends for over the last 20 years, the Dalai Lama said: “I think out of our serious discussion, I think at least make some contribution- firstly for our knowledge about reality, external matters, particles, and our inner world, particularly the more sensitive inner world that is emotions.”

“I think our discussion created some interest on people who normally are not much concerned about our inner world,” the Dalai Lama said, adding “Not necessarily as a religious matter, but simply because we are living being with mind, with consciousness, with experience, emotions. So naturally we cannot neglect these things.”

“We want happiness, (and) happiness is a kind of mind. So the very meaning of joyfulness is somehow related to emotions and mind. So we must have better awareness about that,” the Dalai Lama said.

In addition to fundamental scientific questions; the dialogue meeting will deal with the larger philosophical, ethical and spiritual issues prompted by each field of science that need to be effectively addressed.

The MLI now has a number of scientific research programmes collaborated with contemplatives to conduct scientific investigation. One of the primary pursuits of Mind and Life scientists is to study the effects of contemplative practices like meditation and mental training have on brain and behaviour, and the translation of this data into effective tools to benefit people in all walks of life.

Of these, the Mind and Life Dialogues with the Dalai Lama is the foremost programme of the institute.

His Eminence the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Hollywood Buddhist star, Richard Gere and, Robert Thurman, Buddhist scholar and author, and father of Hollywood actress Uma Thurman, are among others taking part in the ongoing conference in Dharamsala.

For more on the Mind and Life Dialogues and, range of topics MLI has explored, visit www.mindandlife.org.

Comments

Maria de Chirikof's picture

so interesting

I enjoy reading your posts but hardly ever comment on them.

Reading this part makes me wish I was a scientist or a Buddhist so I could contribute since this area really interests me:
“While the relation between attention, memory, and mind is a fascinating area of research in psychological science and neuroscience, it is also of particular interest and investigation in Buddhism, because it is through the contemplative refinement of attention and mindfulness that one explores the distinctive characteristics, origins, and potentials of human awareness, of suffering, and of genuine happiness,” the MLI noted in its overview note on the conference.

It has always interested me and one of my daughters is very interested in this field and might study it in college. Thanks for providing a link to read more about it.

Maria

yangdol's picture

tashi delek

Dear

ITS WONDERFUL TO HEAR FROM YOU AND I WISH ALL THE BEST TO YOUR DAUGHTER AND YOURSELF TOO.

make peace prevail in this world.

with love and regard
yangdol

xxx

jadefrank's picture

You are our link

Hi Yangdol,

I am always eager to read your updates, links and especially your personal thoughts on the situation in and around Tibet. You are our link here on PulseWire to this cause and I value your insight. It seems that world media quickly falls in love with the Tibetan cause and then just as quickly, forgets about it and moves on. But as we know - the struggle has been ongoing for so many years and the immediate need for attention and aid is growing each day. Thank you for being so active on PulseWire and being our voice for Tibet.

Warm regards,
Jade

yangdol's picture

Thank you

Dear Jade

Thank you so much for your warm words and comments.
I wish if tibetan can go back home and live in peace under a democratic form of government but the power, politic and policy of China is growing stronger, killing many innocent,awarding unjust sentences and trails and many are suffering under terror and tyranny of the communist rule so its very important for us to have the world support. Thank you for your concern and please do create more awarenss of the fact, truth and just. Tibet will be free one day and that day will definately come soon.
Thank you

xxx

Amei's picture

I was serching

Thank you Yangdol

I am pleased to read this post. I was going through different small countries. This has added to my curiosity. I search to understand the power of Mind. Dalai Lama is one of my great teachers. He is an inspiration.

Regards
Amei

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