Book: "Zen and the Brain"
wolfskil at mit.edu
Wed Mar 25 16:34:20 EST 1998
The following is a book which readers of this list might find of interest.
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Zen and the Brain
Toward an Understanding of Meditation and Consciousness
James H. Austin, M.D.
Aldous Huxley called humankind¹s basic trend toward spiritual growth the
³perennial philosophy.² In the view of James Austin, the trend implies a
³perennial psychophysiology²--because awakening, or enlightenment,
occurs when the human brain undergoes substantial changes. What are the
peak experiences of enlightenment? How could these states profoundly
enhance, and yet simplify, the workings of the brain? Zen and the Brain
presents the latest evidence.
In this book Zen Buddhism becomes the opening wedge for a wide-ranging
exploration of consciousness. In order to understand which brain
mechanisms produce Zen states, one needs some understanding of the
anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the brain. Austin, both a
neurologist and a Zen practitioner, interweaves the most recent brain
research with the personal narrative of his Zen experiences. The science is
both inclusive and rigorous; the Zen sections are clear and evocative. Along
the way, Austin examines such topics as similar states in other disciplines
and religions, sleep and dreams, mental illness, consciousness-altering
drugs, and the social consequences of the advanced stage of ongoing
James H. Austin, M.D., is Professor Emeritus of Neurology at the
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He is the author of Chase,
Chance, and Creativity and the author or coauthor of more than 130
publications in the fields of neurochemistry, neuropharmacology, and
Publication Date: March 1, 1998
7 x 10, 896 pp., 18 illus.
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