Buddhism and Science: Body, Breath, and Mind
Discover the frontier where science and spirituality meet.
Explore the frontier where Buddhism and science meet, guided by beloved teacher Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
The human mind and body remain mysterious to us in innumerable ways—and both spiritual seekers and scientists have been delving deep into their mysteries for millennia, trying to understand why our human experience is the way that it is, and how we can improve it, for the sake of both ourselves and others.
Now more than ever before, spiritual thinkers and scientists around the world are becoming increasingly curious about the places where their two disciplines overlap in these investigations.
In Buddhism and Science: Body, Breath, and Mind (recorded live during the 2020 Serenity Ridge Dialogues online summit), you’ll be introduced to some of the most exciting, groundbreaking ideas in this interdisciplinary field as you witness dialogues between spiritual and scientific leaders from around the world. You’ll discover pioneering research and ideas about how science and spirituality bridge our human experience and inform our practice.
The dialogues in this course explore questions such as:
• When we bring our attention to our body, breath, and mind, what happens and why?
• How does our relationship to sensations, thoughts, and perceptions change through meditation and other energetic practices?
• Can science and medicine inform how we engage with these ancient traditions?
You’ll leave this course with:
• an enriched understanding of your own body, breath, and mind,
• new ways to experience spiritual practice,
• and much more.
Click below to start learning today!
- Take at your own pace and keep your access even after the course ends
- 2-3 hour commitment per week
The course features sessions that were originally recorded for the Serenity Ridge Dialogues, an online summit that took place in October 2020.
• 11 curated videos (20+ minutes each) teaching you how to understand the interconnected system of your body, breath, and mind, so they can work together more effectively
• 9 readings (5+ pages each), carefully selected to deepen and enhance your understanding of the course
• 8 guided movement and meditation sessions (20+ minutes each) so you can immediately experience putting your learnings in practice, including sessions with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
• Short quizzes to test your understanding of each lesson
• A forum where you can discuss the course with fellow students around the world
Lesson 1: Introduction, Part I: The World of Body, Breath, & Mind
In this lesson, we open our course with an overview from Michael Sheehy, PhD, research assistant professor in religious studies, Director of Scholarship at the Contemplative Sciences Center, and affiliated faculty with the Tibet Center at the University of Virginia. Our second video is a conversation between Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, moderated by Wisdom CEO Daniel Aitken. The two Rinpoches discuss many facets of Dharma practice in the modern world, including
- what motivated the Rinpoches to start engaging in conversations about the mind with neuroscientists;
- what the Rinpoches would study if they had their own neuroscience labs;
- and much more.
Lesson 2: Introduction, Part II: Beginning our Exploration
In this lesson, you’ll get a front-row seat for two fascinating conversations. We begin with a rich dialogue between Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Deepak Chopra, moderated by Wisdom CEO Daniel Aitken. Rinpoche then sets the stage for our interdisciplinary dialogue by leading us in a meditation and explaining the theme of “body, breath, and mind” and why a dialogue between science and spirituality is so important.
Lesson 3: Body, Part 1
This lesson features a presentation by Dr. Alejandro Chaoul. Dr. Chaoul explores Tibetan yoga, or tsa lung trul khor, including how the practice has been implemented at the Texas Medical Center. The practice in this lesson is a Tibetan tsa-lung (“channel-winds”) practice, specifically the eight movements of the common trul khor (“magical movements”) from the Yutok Nyingtik cycle, led by Dr. Tawni Tidwell.
Lesson 4: Body, Part 2
In this lesson, we hear a discussion of Dr. Chaoul’s presentation from lesson three moderated by Dr. Ruth Wolever. Dr. Chaoul and Dr. Wolever and joined by Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche to discuss both the more general understanding of the body in the context of breath and mind, and also Dr. Chaoul’s work with cancer patients.
Lesson 5: Breath, Part 1
In this lesson, we explore powerful breath practices and their benefits, with a particular focus on slow breathing. In the presentation from Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, you’ll learn about:
- the physiology of breathing,
- the impact of breathing on the central nervous system,
- and much more.
Lesson 6: Breath, Part 2
In this lesson, we hear Dr. Tawni Tidwell’s response to Dr. Singh Khalsa’s presentation. Dr. Tidwell discusses the evolutionary heritage surrounding Dr. Singh Khalsa’s presentation and then moves onto the Tibetan medical view on breath practices and their healing potential.
Lesson 7: Mind, Part 1
This lesson features a presentation from Dr. Menas C. Kafatos, the Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics at Chapman University. Dr. Kafatos’s presentation explores the interwoven areas of science, reality, and everyday life.
Lesson 8: Mind, Part 2
This lesson features Dr. James Duffy’s response to Dr. Kafatos’s presentation. Dr. Duffy is a professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco Weill Institute for Neurosciences in the School of Medicine. In this response, Dr. Duffy reflects on what the Buddha might have thought about the ideas that Dr. Kafatos has introduced, and how we might apply the ideas to our daily life to become free from suffering.
Lesson 9: Capstone
In this final lesson, Michael Sheehy leads a discussion between our participants, exploring how the ideas discussed in the dialogues intersect and what this means for the future of science and spirituality.