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Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying: An Exploration of Consciousness [Format Kindle]

His Holiness the Dalai Lamai , Francisco J. Varela , Francisco J. Varela Ph.D. , B. Alan Wallace , Thupten Jinpa

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Présentation de l'éditeur

This is an absorbing account of a dialogue between leading Western scientists and the foremost representative of Buddhism today, the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

For modern science, the transitional states of consciousness lie at the forefront of research in many fields. For a Buddhist practitioner these same states present crucial opportunities to explore and transform consciousness itself. This book is the account of a historic dialogue between leading Western scientists and the Dalai Lama of Tibet. Revolving around three key moments of consciousness--sleep, dreams, and death--the conversations recorded here are both engrossing and highly readable. Whether the topic is lucid dreaming, near-death experiences, or the very structure of consciousness itself, the reader is continually surprised and delighted.

Narrated by Francisco Varela, an internationally recognized neuroscientist, the book begins with insightful remarks on the notion of personal identity by noted philosopher Charles Taylor, author of the acclaimed Sources of Self. This sets the stage for Dr. Jerome Engel, Dr. Joyce MacDougal, and others to engage in extraordinary exchanges with the Dalai Lama on topics ranging from the neurology of sleep to the yoga of dreams.

Remarkable convergences between the Western scientific tradition and the Buddhist contemplative sciences are revealed. Dr. Jayne Gackenbach's discussion of lucid dreaming, for example, prompts a detailed and fascinating response from the Dalai Lama on the manipulation of dreams by Buddhist meditators. The conversations also reveal provocative divergences of opinion, as when the Dalai Lama expresses skepticism about "Near-Death Experiences" as presented by Joan Halifax. The conversations are engrossing and highly readable. Any reader interested in psychology, neuroscience, Buddhism, or the alternative worlds of dreams will surely enjoy Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying.

Biographie de l'auteur

Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He frequently describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. Born in northeastern Tibet in 1935, he was as a toddler recognized as the incarnation of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and brought to Tibet's capital, Lhasa. In 1950, Mao Zedong's Communist forces made their first incursions into eastern Tibet, shortly after which the young Dalai Lama assumed the political leadership of his country. He passed his scholastic examinations with honors at the Great Prayer Festival in Lhasa in 1959, the same year Chinese forces occupied the city, forcing His Holiness to escape to India. There he set up the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, working to secure the welfare of the more than 100,000 Tibetan exiles and prevent the destruction of Tibetan culture. In his capacity as a spiritual and political leader, he has traveled to more than sixty-two countries on six continents and met with presidents, popes, and leading scientists to foster dialogue and create a better world. In recognition of his tireless work for the nonviolent liberation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. In 2012, he relinquished political authority in his exile government and turned it over to democratically elected representatives.

His Holiness frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of interreligious harmony, and securing the welfare of the Tibetan people, focusing on the survival of their identity, culture, and religion. As a superior scholar trained in the classical texts of the Nalanda tradition of Indian Buddhism, he is able to distill the central tenets of Buddhist philosophy in clear and inspiring language, his gift for pedagogy imbued with his infectious joy. Connecting scientists with Buddhist scholars, he helps unite contemplative and modern modes of investigation, bringing ancient tools and insights to bear on the acute problems facing the contemporary world. His efforts to foster dialogue among leaders of the world's faiths envision a future where people of different beliefs can share the planet in harmony. Wisdom Publications is proud to be the premier publisher of the Dalai Lama's more serious and in-depth works.

Francisco Javier Varela Garcia (1946-2001) was a Chilean biologist, philosopher, and neuroscientist who, together with his teacher Humberto Maturana, is best known for introducing the concept of autopoiesis to biology, and for co-founding the Mind and Life Institute to promote dialog between science and Buddhism.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.1 étoiles sur 5  15 commentaires
25 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Fascinating, multidisciplinary exploration of consciousness 5 juin 1997
Par Un client - Publié sur
This book presents notes from a summit of several top thinkers in the fields of psychoanalysis, neurophysiology, Buddhism, Western philosophy and others. Completely unlike a collection of essays; you're presented with the rich, dynamic and fascinating syntheses of the theories from each of these fields. The dialog format emphasizes the creativity and intelligence of participants. Worth reading no matter which philosphy you endorse -- all the better if you have some interest in each! This book has that rare quality of really making you work your brain muscle AND being a book you can't wait to come home to after work. Don't skip a page
57 internautes sur 67 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Retracing the flightpath of a butterfly by its droppings 25 mai 2001
Par Saul Boulschett - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Can you imagine a conversation about the essence of art taking place between, oh, say, Picasso and art therapists who treat mental patients, and some chemists who concoct formulaes for oil paints? Something like that is taking place here. The title alone is enough to pique your interest, but the content is less than secret-divulging. If you're not a neurologist,or a specialist in a related area,then much of the material presented by the neurologist will be for all practical purposes useless. If you're not familiar with the basic assumptions of esoteric buddhist psychology, then much of what HH Dalai Lama has to say will sound like so much dogma or articles of faith. I know next to nothing about brain sciences, but am academically acquainted with the buddhist conception of reality, so I found what the Dalai Lama had to say both interesting and amusing. Interesting, because he speaks as plainly as he can about things that are usually wrapped in some hairy buddhist language. Amusing, becuase the Dalai Lama would show utmost courtesy in listening to all the dry academic presentations, which even I found somewhat tedious, and then offer his views about the matter at hand by often beginning with what sounds like a gentle correction rather than a positing of difference of perspective only. I paraphrase from memory: "Well, your numbers and theories are all very nice, but no, it's actually like this." Some of the discussions on REM, and animal responses to dream states are interesting, but just merely interesting. Better on the Discovery channel. Much of the philosopher Charles Taylor's presentations concerning the Western/Christian conception of the Self is reliable but elementary. And dealing with the subject matter at hand, even an eminent philosopher can do only so much with Ratio alone. The book is of some value if one is willing to be open to the possibility that the Dalai Lama may be speaking of things that are real but not measurable, at least not with knobs and dials. Not yet. He never mentions it specifically in the book, but the idea of rebirth and the attendant conditions are indirectly there, for example when he questions the authenticity of the phenomenon of seeing one's departed ones in a near-death experience. He says, "Maybe the person is hallucinating at that point or projecting a wish. They (the loved ones who departed long ago) would have found new bodies by then." Taken as an record of an encounter with the Dalai Lama, this book sheds some light into that aspect of the man that won't show up when he is on Larry King or speaking of compassion to the multitude in Central Park. The guy is a professional in his own field, after all, and he knows his chops. Here, refreshingly enough, he sheds some of his avuncular "hey, be cool, people!" image and divulges some of his professional knowledge at a speed and intensity of delivery considerably higher than the mass media have shown him to be capable.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Drawing Out Some Potential Links between Science & Buddhism 6 août 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
I found this book to be a little dry at times but nonetheless provides some useful explanations on the myths which have been with the human race since the ancient time: dream, sleep and death.
From a buddhist perspective it helps reinforces the belief (at least not disproved it) of buddhist that there is a higher level of consciousness not yet been measured via any scientific means. From a scientific standpoint, the book has summarised the recent developments in neuroscience and showed us that there is a possibility one day both religion and science will meet face to face and one would have to change the fundamental concepts one used to hold. It could be the scientific community or the religious groups. At least HH the Dalai Lama is very open to the ideas in the book while the scientists were at times pretty "close" and reluctant to take a different perspective which made some of them sounded a little bit defensive.
13 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Well I Think 5 Stars is Necessary 13 mars 2004
Par Swing King - Publié sur
I'm not sure why this book received all the bad reviews that it did (though I confess I have never given a Dalai Lama book less than a 5 start review-I love the guy!). The book is one of a plethora of transcripts of the Mind and Life Conferences held in India, this being the fourth conference in 1992. Sure the discussions are varied, and by no means is everyone simply in agreement with one another here. But the dialogue is engaging and thought provoking, and above all else, illuminating. At the conference we had philosophers, neuroscientists, psychologists, and many more; so of course we are going to get a huge spectrum of views.
The cultural ecologist, Jane Halifax (whom you all may know of), had a particularly fascinating section in here on near death experiences. All the Dalai Lama did was show some uncertainty as to the validity of these claims in light of the Buddhist view of a natural death and rebirth. So what if the Dalai Lama didn't agree with her, you don't have to have agreement to have a good book! Differentiating views provide all of us more food to chew on, and then decide which works for us. It's not a matter of who had it right, but rather, "Does it sound right to you?"
Enjoy the book!
8 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 meh... 12 juillet 2009
Par Kieran Fox - Publié sur
Don't get me wrong: the Mind and Life institute is doing good and necessary work, and some of their publications I thought were excellent (e.g., The Dalai Lama at MIT) and provide some real food for thought. This book is simply not in this class, however. As the reviewer above noted (Sagan Lazar), what we have here is people who speak completely different languages (literally and figuratively) lecturing each other with little or no real 'dialogue.' There are some occasional interesting diversions, but these are very much the exception rather than the rule.

The conversation on dreams, my own primary interest and field of research, is particularly disappointing. Almost the entire 'Western' section is devoted to the Freudian view! I was shocked that these speakers weren't embarrassed and ashamed to bring to the table a psychology as pauper, outmoded and frankly ridiculous as Freud's, especially when they were sharing that table with people well-acquainted with the vast, subtle Buddhist psychology. As if this were all the 'West' had to offer! The lucid dreaming section is better, but then the Tibetan Buddhist view on dreams doesn't really have anything to do with them... the Dalai Lama mostly rambles on about consciousness and self, then about 2 pages are devoted to 'dream yoga'; but even this section is mostly just platitudes and vague mentions of how diet affects dreaming. None of the very interesting and practical dream yoga advice you can find in other Tibetan works such as "Ancient Wisdom" by Gyatrul Rinpoche and translated by Alan Wallace (highly recommended).

Death: again the section is mildly interesting, but 'dialogue' is conspicuously absent. With the meeting of all these 'great minds' you would expect a lot of fresh ideas and original opinions, but mostly you get a long list of terms and definitions, nothing you couldn't pick up in a textbook of medicine of Buddhist philosophy.

Altogether forgettable; certainly this book doesn't stand out in the subject of sleep, dreams, or death/dying; and in an effort to combine all three it just fades into further superficiality.
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