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Thread: Who are we? A conversation between Buddhism and Neuroscience

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by trusolo
    Regarding the scientist I mentioned, Richard Davidson, his research was because of HH Dalai Lama. They came up with the idea together and the monks that volunteered were senior monks from his lineage. How that came about is described in great detail in the Mind Life Institute book Destructive Emotions. That institute holds annual workshop of Buddhists and scientists and philosophers.
    That's not recent though, I remember reading about it quite a number of years ago.

    Here's a link dated 2001:

    https://centerhealthyminds.org/news/...udy-meditation

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by trusolo
    but the only reason people are even thinking about the environment and the planet is because of science
    Not necessarily. Its pretty obvious what's happening to the planet by just taking a look at the environment around us, the rubbish dumped in the streets and in the countryside, ("fly tipping"), people getting asthma and related conditions from very obvious air pollution from cars, lorries, trams, trains, planes, etc - and/or observing the increasingly extreme weather conditions creating highly destructive floods and famine around the world.... amongst other things.



  3. #13
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    Good discussion both. I got interested in how studies of the brain have changed how we see it, from something fixed from an early age and then has continuous degeneration to old age, to something that is constantly changing and open to new cells being grown, and new networks of activity. Whatever we do or think brings about change, even if it is only reinforcing established patterns of behaviour and thinking. Consequently, as a Buddhist simply changing behaviour changes the brain, but when in combination with meditation practices you have a powerful strategy for changing yourself in measurable ways.

  4. #14
    Forums Member trusolo's Avatar
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    It is true that the research is not that recent, but until recently “mindfulness” wasn’t a buzz concept so this kind of serious research was still fringe topic and rarely funded. Now that it is a buzz topic in general zeitgeist, opportunistic people are already selling devices to “balance your hemispheres” etc. I don’t want to provide links because it promotes fake products.

    My point is in the future hopefully we will get to a stage where there is no “sides” to this topic, we will advace to a sort of “jedi master” kind of being who is perfectly balanced and well versed in all aspects relating to being and inhabiting in a particular time and place. For now, we have eastablished a system of extreme compartmentalizations and specializations so we see work, hobbies, daily life, spiritual life, acquiring knowledge, acquiring wisdom and compassion as separate activities. Buddhist path points out the error of this approach and lays out a plan for us to follow so that in the end there are no compartmentalizations of any kind in our being and functioning.

  5. #15
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
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    I so much agree that medical research in the name of 'science' is detestable in the inhumane treatment of animals.

    Medical research is also fairly dirty in its treatment of money. It's not in the interests of big pharma to promote healthy diet and lifestyle as that would ultimately lead to a smaller market for drugs that treat conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and the many effects of obesity.

    But this thread is on the subject of Buddhism and neuroscience, so I must not widen the subject onto 'science' generally, and I'll restrict my comments on medical research to those concerning neuroscience research.

    I can remember reading some years ago a book by the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (The Joy of Living, 2007) where he describes working with neuroscientists on brain imaging where research discovers a clear connection between training in meditation and enhanced activity in brain areas associated with happiness and compassion.

    It's a gross oversimplification, of course, to describe areas of the brain as being associated with particular functions higher than vision, hearing and other senses. But a consistent connection was established in that research.

    Neuroscience is always developing, moving forwards and steadily changing. There's even a quantum dimension to consciousness (Penrose and Hameroff).

    Buddhism, on the other hand, is constant. The principles taught by The Buddha have never changed. There have been many translations and commentaries down the centuries, but they are all focused on the Buddha's clear and simple message.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by trusolo
    My point is in the future hopefully we will get to a stage where there is no “sides” to this topic, we will advace to a sort of “jedi master” kind of being who is perfectly balanced and well versed in all aspects relating to being and inhabiting in a particular time and place
    That sounds a little crazy and unrealistic to me because human beings are usually in different stages of understanding about "life, the universe and everything" ...and "Jedi masters" are simply the product of the imagination of a science fiction writer who made a lot of money making entertaining adventure movies with actors running around in it with "light sabres"!

    Just another opinion, of course!

    Quote Originally Posted by woodscooter

    The principles taught by The Buddha have never changed. There have been many translations and commentaries down the centuries, but they are all focused on the Buddha's clear and simple message.

    Indeed.

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