Book: "Zen and the Brain"

Jud Wolfskill 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.  
For more information please visit 
http://mitpress.mit.edu/promotions/books/AUSZHF97

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 
enlightenment.

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 
clinical neurology.

Publication Date:  March 1, 1998
$40.00 cloth
7 x 10, 896 pp., 18 illus.
ISBN 0-262-01164-6



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