Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Dalai Lama and the Brain Scientists

An interesting book: Consciousness at the Crossroads, edited by Zara Houshmand, Robert B. Livingston, and B. Allan Wallace. We got it because Brigitte chanced across an essay by Zara Houshmand a while back which very much impressed us. The book contains the discussion of a conference between the Dalai Lama and leading brain scientists. The interesting aspects of the book is the Dalai Lama’s own presentation of various differing Buddhist cosmologies—and the quite evident tension between the physicalist monism of the scientists and the subtle but very real dualism of Buddhism, never mind which branch is involved. Were it not for the Dalai Lama's own unquestioned world fame, even this attempt to “find commonalities” between the so-called Western and the Asian systems of belief would never have taken place. What we have here is a polite exchange. The radical split between these two views, however, is what makes reading the presentations fascinating.

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