sleeping, dreaming, and dying

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“The book is a most stimulating and informative work... offers important insights for those genuinely interested in meaningful contacts between Buddhism, psychology, and neuroscience.”—The Tibet Journal

SLEEPING, DREAMING, AND DYING

An Exploration of Consciousness

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Francisco Varela

This is an absorbing account of a dialogue between leading Western scientists and the foremost representative of Buddhism today, the Dalai Lama.

For modern science, the transitional states of consciousness lie at the forefront of research in many fields. For a Buddhist practitioner these same states present crucial opportunities to explore and transform consciousness itself. This book is the account of a historic dialogue between leading Western scientists and the Dalai Lama of Tibet. Revolving around three key moments of consciousness—sleep, dreams, and death—the conversations recorded here are both engrossing and highly readable. Whether the topic is lucid dreaming, near-death experiences, or the very structure of consciousness itself, the reader is continually surprised and delighted.

Narrated by Francisco Varela, an internationally recognized neuroscientist, the book begins with insightful remarks on the notion of personal identity by noted philosopher Charles Taylor, author of the acclaimed Sources of Self. This sets the stage for Dr. Jerome Engel, Dr. Joyce MacDougal, and others to engage in extraordinary exchanges with the Dalai Lama on topics ranging from the neurology of sleep to the yoga of dreams.

Remarkable convergences between the Western scientific tradition and the Buddhist contemplative sciences are revealed. Dr. Jayne Gackenbach’s discussion of lucid dreaming, for example, prompts a detailed and fascinating response from the Dalai Lama on the manipulation of dreams by Buddhist meditators. The conversations also reveal provocative divergences of opinion, as when the Dalai Lama expresses skepticism about “Near-Death Experiences” as presented by Joan Halifax. The conversations are engrossing and highly readable. Any reader interested in psychology, neuroscience, Buddhism, or the alternative worlds of dreams will surely enjoy Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying.

book information
  • Paperback
  • 264 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 inches
  • $16.95
  • ISBN 9780861711239
  • ebook
  • 264 pages
  • $12.99
  • ISBN 9780861717651
about the author
Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying

Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He frequently describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. Born in northeastern Tibet in 1935, he was as a toddler recognized as the incarnation of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and brought to Tibet’s capital, Lhasa. In 1950, Mao Zedong’s Communist forces made their first incursions into eastern Tibet, shortly after which the young Dalai Lama assumed the political leadership of his country. He passed his scholastic examinations with honors at the Great Prayer Festival in Lhasa in 1959, the same year Chinese forces occupied the city, forcing His Holiness to escape to India. There he set up the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, working to secure the welfare of the more than 100,000 Tibetan exiles and prevent the destruction of Tibetan culture. In his capacity as a spiritual and political leader, he has traveled to more than sixty-two countries on six continents and met with presidents, popes, and leading scientists to foster dialogue and create a better world. In recognition of his tireless work for the nonviolent liberation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. In 2012, he relinquished political authority in his exile government and turned it over to democratically elected representatives.
His Holiness frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of interreligious harmony, and securing the welfare of the Tibetan people, focusing on the survival of their identity, culture, and religion. As a superior scholar trained in the classical texts of the Nalanda tradition of Indian Buddhism, he is able to distill the central tenets of Buddhist philosophy in clear and inspiring language, his gift for pedagogy imbued with his infectious joy. Connecting scientists with Buddhist scholars, he helps unite contemplative and modern modes of investigation, bringing ancient tools and insights to bear on the acute problems facing the contemporary world. His efforts to foster dialogue among leaders of the world’s faiths envision a future where people of different beliefs can share the planet in harmony. Wisdom Publications is proud to be the premier publisher of the Dalai Lama’s more serious and in-depth works.

Other books by His Holiness the Dalai Lama:
The Essence of Tsongkhapa’s Teachings
The Compassionate Life
The Life of My Teacher
The Life of My Teacher (Paperback)
Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature
The Foundation of Buddhist Practice
Buddhism
Buddhism (Paperback)
Kalachakra Tantra
The World of Tibetan Buddhism (Paperback)
MindScience
The World of Tibetan Buddhism (Hardcover)
Practicing Wisdom
Meditation on the Nature of Mind
The Good Heart
The Middle Way
The Middle Way
Imagine All the People
Essence of the Heart Sutra
Mind in Comfort and Ease
Opening the Eye of New Awareness
The Wheel of Life

Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying

Francisco Javier Varela García (1946–2001) was a Chilean biologist, philosopher, and neuroscientist who, together with his teacher Humberto Maturana, is best known for introducing the concept of autopoiesis to biology, and for co-founding the Mind and Life Institute to promote dialog between science and Buddhism.

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