Settling the Mind in its Natural State (setting the stage for a great discussion of modern scientific materialism and the mind)

29 Apr 2010

Today got quite long for a morning practice, but it was very interesting! Alan immediately got going with a very sharp discussion of the current status of acceptance that cognitive sciences or even just attentional training such as Shamatha have in the scientific materialist view. He draws on several events from his experience with his subtle humor but also with striking clarity and in my opinion, sad truth.
I will not try to describe or paraphrase what he said because it would not be very precise, but if you really are not interested then feel free to jump to 20:00!

There we start our usual morning meditation which in this case was a great practice of Settling the Mind in its Natural State (a way to directly observe our minds), and after the practice Alan explains the three qualities of a worthy student of Buddhism, and explains that this morning was a preview of the talk that is to come this afternoon.

He says that I am partly to blame for what got him going this morning and for this afternoon, and I will admit that this is because I asked him a question about debating the scientific materialist view of the relationship between the mind and brain. So if you are interested in these sorts of things don’t miss this afternoon! And as Alan jokingly said, “if you want a peaceful evening, you might want to bring earplugs!”

The relevant photo is from the Mind and Life XVIII conference in Dharamsala (2009) (to get you excited for this afternoon!)

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