April 12, 2014
   Posted in News Flash
Published By Tashi
His Holiness the Dalai Lama greets participants at the conference on Mapping the Mind in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 April 2014/Photo/Office of Tibet

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greets participants at the conference on Mapping the Mind in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 April 2014/Photo/Office of Tibet

KYOTO, Japan: His Holiness the Dalai Lama participated in a two-day conference on Mapping the Mind: A Dialogue between modern science and Buddhist science in Kyoto in Japan from 11-12 April. The conference was organised by Kotoro Research Center of Kyoto University and the US-based Mind & Life Institute.

The conference brought together experts from the Buddhist contemplative tradition, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with experts from modern psychology, philosophy of mind, neuroscience, and other relevant disciplines.

The symposium was aimed at garnering a greater understanding of the various aspects of the human mind and its potential, which will not only lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the mind and promotion of positive human values like the sense of oneness of humanity, said the organisers. 

Speaking at the symposium, His Holiness said engaging in a such a meeting for the last more than forty years is part of his efforts to promote a sense of oneness of humanity among the 7 billion human being as everyone aspires for happiness and do not want suffering.

“I am extremely happy to attend this meeting in Japan. Since the inception of Mind & Life Institution, I was keen that this kind of meeting should take place in an Asian country, where the native people follow Buddhism is their own traditional religion. But always emphasise that people should keep their own religious faiths,” he added.

He said collaboration between modern science and Buddhist science will lay the foundation for study and promotion of inner values such as love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance and contentment, which are the basis for a happier world and happier century. “Modern science, with its stand in carrying out unbiased experiment and objective understanding of matters, and Buddhist science which provides a detailed explanation about mind and emotions are very helpful in understanding the whole system of mind.”

His Holiness said problems we are facing today such as killing, huge gap between rich and poor, hypocrisy, corruption, bullying, exploitation and hatred are ultimately related with mind and not created by the machines. Machines make us work easy, he said, adding, unless we pay more attention to our mind, knowledge and intelligence will create more problems.

“When we deal with mind about the practice of emotions like tolerance, forgiveness and compassion, we have to know about the whole system of mind. The Buddhist scriptures offer a detailed explanation about the mind. Last over 30 years, our meeting has yielded immense benefit to us with much knowledge about matters, cosmology and particularly quantum physics which was very helpful in understanding what we Buddhists call dependent origination. These results make us rethink some of assumptions. For scientists, they get detailed explanation about the mind,” he added.

His Holiness recalled a person asking him during his visit to northeastern India last year, that what is lacking in modern education in terms of fulfilling the human aspirations for happiness. “I responded that existing modern education system is not adequate about mind and inner world but it is very oriented towards material values. There are many educated people, but they are also the ones who are expert in how to manipulate and cheat people. So material development alone is not the solution to happier world and happier century.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and panellists listen to Prof Jay L Garfield at a two-day conference on Mapping the Mind: A Dialogue between modern science and Buddhist science in Kyoto in Japan from 11-12 April 2014/Photo/Office of Tibet

“In order to pay attention on and raise awareness about inner values, genuine scientists are truly the eyes of the world. Genuine scientists are opener of our mind. Over the decades, they carry experiment how much helpful you train your mind and mainly deeper values of compassion and mindfulness. They found immense effect. Therefore I felt the collaboration with scientists on how to bring happy world and happy century. The seven billion human beings, irrespective of believer and non-believer, wish for happy life and so there will be no basis of violence, including war, which entirely results from divisive attitude of “we” and “they”. Once we develop a genuine sense of oneness of humanity there is not ground of “we” and “they”. As much as you love one self, love others also. Then there will be no basis of killing and cheating.” (Watch video)

Scientists from Japan and the US and Buddhist scholars then gave their presentations.

Prof. Yoshitro Imaeda, PhD, studied history of Buddhism at Otani University, Kyoto and received his PhD at Universite de Paris VII, Paris. He spoke on “Comparison between Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism.” He recalled his surprise at finding that his father had no idea what he was reciting in front of his Buddhist altar. The monk who came to the house once a month could not explain either, nor could his teachers at school. Apparently Buddhism was to be followed but not understood. He decided to do his own research. He discovered that not only do Tibetans have the most exhaustive collection of Mahayana texts, but that Tibetan Buddhism remains a living tradition, despite the tragedy that has taken place in Tibet. He described Japanese monks as professionals, particularly with regard to funeral arrangements, and Japanese Buddhists as emotional and sentimental, but not rational. He recounted going to a Buddhist temple at New Year and his son making a wish to excel in his studies, his daughter making a wish for the family’s good health, while their Tibetan friends made a wish that all sentient beings attain Buddhahood.
 
Geshe Thupten Jinpa, PhD in religious studies from Cambridge University, on “Taking Buddhist Psychology and Contemplative Perspective Seriously”. His presentation focussed on the key questioned of what classical Buddhist psychology, especially Abhidharma, and associated contemplative practices can contribute towards Mapping the Mind. He demonstrated how how critical examination of the key Buddhist contemplative practices – mindfulness, compassion, and forbearance – can also help reveal insights pertaining to interrelations between various mental factors. 
 
Prof Richard J Davidson, PhD, founder and chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at Waisman Center, and director of Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at University of Wisconsin, Madison. He spoke on “Change Your Brain by Transforming Your Mind: Neuroscientific Studies of Meditation. His talk presented an overview of studies in the laboratory over the past six years on neural changes associated with different forms of meditation. The overall conclusions from these studies is that one can transform the mind through meditation and thereby alter the brain and the periphery in ways that may be beneficial for mental and physical health, and for well-being. 
 
Prof Jay L. Garfield, PhD, is Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor of Humanities at Yale-NUS College, Doris Silbert Professor in Humanities at Smith College and Professor of Philosophy at National University of Singapore, Yale University, the University of Melbourne and Central University of Tibetan Studies. His research addresses topics in Madhayamaka and Yogacara Buddhist Philosophy, Cognitive Science, Logic, Ethics and Cross-Cultural interpretation. He spoke on “Cognitive Illusions: A Yogacara Perspective”.
 
Prof. Arthur Zajonc, PhD, is professor of physics at Amherst College from 1978 to 2012 and when President of the Mind & Life Institute. He spoke on “The Role of Mind in Quantum Physics”. He reviewed the various positions on the importance and place of mind in modern physics, and the implications for our understanding of ourselves and our world. 
 
Prof. Shigefumi Mori PhD, received his degree from Kyoto University and field of research is algebraic geometry and higher dimensional birational geometry. He spoke on “Mathematics in Comparison with Art: Looking for Applications, Truth or Beauty?. In his presentation, Prof. Mori described mathematicians’ research activities from a few different viewpoints. He explored similarities between algebraic geometry and modern paintings. He said a mathematician’s attitude toward the object of his/her interest is often similar to those in other disciplines, including art. 

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