Open Buddha

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Mind and Life XVIII Conference in India

The 18th Annual Mind and Life Conference in India is going on this week. The Mind & Life Institute brings together scientists and Buddhists in dialogue, including the Dalai Lama, to discuss important issues relating to the mind, contemplation, and science. You can see the brochure for this year for more information.

From the overview:

"The topics of Mind and Life XVIII are human attention, memory, and the mind considered from phenomenological (including contemplative), psychological, and neurobiological perspectives. While the relation between attention, memory, and the 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. In short, the contemplative training known as “shamatha” (meditative quiescence) deals with the development and refinement of attention; and this is the basis for “vipashyana” (contemplative insight), which entails methods for experientially exploring the nature of the mind and its relation to the world at large. [...] The discussions during Mind and Life XVIII will primarily focus on the subjective phenomenology, information-processing operations, and neural mechanisms of attention, memory, and conscious awareness from both scientific and Buddhist perspectives. We expect that participants in these dialogues, coming from the various disciplines of philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and Buddhist scholarship and contemplative practice will especially work toward understanding and incorporating the broad range of each others’ ideas and views about the topics of this meeting."

I have heard that the initial results of B. Alan Wallace’s Shamatha Project will be (or have been) presented during the conference.

It turns out that is is being blogged live this week as things progress.