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Gentle Bridges: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on the Sciences of Mind Paperback – October 16, 2001
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For it turns out that various schools of Tibetan Buddhism have been systematically investigating and building theories about the mind---how it perceives, what knowledge and thinking are, what the relationship of the individual is to common reality---for centuries. So this book reflects a true dialogue, in which western scientists and the Dalai Lama and other Buddhists present each learn from the other.
In fact, several of the scientists comment on how pertinent the Dalai Lama's questions are, often anticipating the next line of research they're going to talk about. "You think like a scientist!" one of them exclaims.
While the Dalai Lama explains the theories and explorations of various Buddhist schools with remarkably easy erudition, the emphasis of material in this book is on western science. This is the first of at least eight books emanating from conferences that the Dalai Lama has hosted with western scientists, on questions of mind. A much fuller presentation of Tibetan Buddhist theories of mind can be found in "Consciousness at the Crossroads," dialogues from the next conference, published by Snow Lion Press.Read more ›
The contributors are from diverse fields, including Buddhism, philosophy, mathematics, physics, cognitive science, and biology. Many topics are discussed and the enthusiasm of the participants comes through in the text. The investigative techniques of Buddhist contemplation and scientific methodology are compared, as well as Buddhist and scientific views on a variety of subjects, such as artificial intelligence and the nature of consciousness.
There is little depth to the work and some prior knowledge of Buddhism and/or science is recommended. The book provides a broad sweep of the many topics that could benefit from a dialogue between Buddhism and science and so might be best treated as an introductory work to the other Mind and Life publications. Nonetheless, the content is enthralling and will almost certainly further the reader's interest in the field of religion and science.