Welcome to

Buddhism and Science: Body, Breath, and Mind

A Wisdom Academy Online Course with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche & Guests

Explore the frontier where Buddhism and science meet, guided by beloved teacher Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.

What You’ll Learn

  • 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 what and how we engage with these ancient traditions?

About this Course

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, discovering pioneering research and ideas about how science and spirituality bridge our human experience and inform our practice.

Learn more about the teachers for this course.

Please note: the views and opinions expressed in this course belong solely to the speakers and do not represent the views and opinions of Wisdom Publications.



Lesson 1: Introduction, Part I: The World of Body, Breath, and Mind

Release date: June 11, 2021

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.


Lesson 2: Introduction, Part II: Beginning our Exploration

Release date: June 18, 2021

In this lesson, you’ll get a front-row seat for two fascinating conversations with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Deepak Chopra. Rinpoche and Dr. Chopra discuss the formless nature of consciousness; how we misperceive ourselves as having a self, and what happens when the sense of self dissolves; the subject-object split and the illusion of boundaries; and much more.


Lesson 3: Body, Part 1

Release date: June 25, 2021

This lesson features a presentation by Dr. Alejandro Chaoul. Dr. Chaoul’s presentation explores Tibetan yoga, or tsa lung trul khor, including how the practice has been implemented at the Texas Medical Center. Topics covered include the effects of Tibetan yoga on cancer patients, the bio-psycho-social model of health, how body and breath practices intertwine, and much more. The practice for this session is a Tibetan yoga practice.



Lesson 4: Body, Part 2

Release date: July 2, 2021

In this lesson, we hear a discussion of Dr. Chaoul’s presentation in 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. The practice for this lesson is a Tibetan yoga practice.


Lesson 5: Breath, Part 1

Release date: July 9, 2021

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, breath in yoga practice, and much more.


Lesson 6: Breath, Part 2

Release date: July 16, 2021

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

Release date: July 23, 2021

This lesson, moderated by Dr. Dave Vago, 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, including the mind from the point of view of science; key ideas like entanglement, non-locality, and delayed choice; the “three natural laws;” and much more.


Lesson 8: Mind, Part 2

Release date: July 30, 2021

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. Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche then offers some thoughts on the grouping of intent, knowledge, and action. There then follows a fascinating dialogue between Rinpoche, Dr. Vago, Dr.Duffy, and Dr. Kafatos exploring how science and spirituality are both pursuing a deeper understanding of the mind.


Lesson 9: Capstone

Release date: August 6, 2021

In this final lesson, Michael Sheehy gives a synopsis of the course and then 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.

About the Teacher

The Wisdom Academy course Buddhism & Science: Body, Breath, & Mind, co-produced with Ligmincha International, features an esteemed panel of speakers including Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, and Deepak Chopra. Click here to learn more about the speakers.