Panel Discussion: Science and Buddhism
Dr. Matthieu Ricard and Prof. Dr. Th. Metzinger
Moderation: Diego Hangartner
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Since about 20 years H.H. the Dalai Lama concerns himself with modern natural sciences, in particular within the scope of the Mind and Life Conferences. On this evening two 30 minute lectures on the most recent findings of research on consciousness and a reflecting review of them are part of the programme. Afterwards the speakers will discuss with each other.
The lecture of Thomas Metzinger will pursue the question how the sensation of I myself arises, which is the basis of all feeling and thought. How is it possible to imagine, that in an information processing system like the human brain a "phenomenal self" arises, a consciously experienced self? Metzinger will argue that there is no such thing like a substantial self but only a "transparent model of self". Then he will show that it is just as wrong to allege that the self is an illusion.
The lecture of Matthieu Ricard deals with mind training and brain plasticity. In the last 20 years neuroscientists have found out that the brain is more plastic than assumed. Can mind training, the training of compassion and awareness change the brain? In an institute in the USA Richard Davidson, Antoine Lutz and others have examined Buddhists who have meditated more than 15,000 hours in their lives. Ricard gives a survey of the results.
Thomas Metzinger (* 12th of March 1958 in Frankfurt/Main) is a German philosopher and professor for theoretical philosophy at the University of Mainz. His main fields of work are the analytical philosophy of the mind, the scientific theory of neuroscience and neuroethics. He was co-founder of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness and was President of the Gesellschaft für Kognitionswissenschaft from 2005-2007. His most important book is titled "Being No One" and was published in 2003 by MIT Press.
Matthieu Ricard, born 1946 in Paris, is the son of the French philosopher Jean-Francois Revel and the paintress Yahne Le Toumelin. He studied at the Institut Pasteur to become a molecular biologist and abandoned his career in 1972 to become a Buddhist monk. He was student and companion of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche who died in 1991.
- Date: Saturday 21th July 2007, 6.00 pm (20:00)
- Location: University of Hamburg, Main Building, Edmund Siemers Allee 1, Room ESA A
- Admission: € 10,-- English with translation into German