MIND AND EMPTINESS
conference on the nature of consciousness
Dartmouth College, April 28,29th.
Below are recordings from several sessions of a conference, organized by Upper Valley Zen Center and Dartmouth Zen Practice in collaboration with Marcelo Glieser, physics professor at Dartmouth and his ICE program (Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement). Support was also provided by the Tucker Center at Dartmouth. Each talk is roughly 40 minutes long.
The conference was inspired by reflection that explanations of "consciousness" remain a challenge to a Western Science that seeks to explain reality through study of the natural world. In Asia, however, reality was explored with no less rigor as a matter of consciousness. The conference aimed to explore three perspectives on consciousness: the scientist, the philospher and the Buddhist.
Shinge Sherry Chayat Roshi, Rinzai Zen teacher
Shinge Roshi is abbott of the Zen Studies Society and Dai Bostasu Zen monastery located in the Catskill mountains of New York. She is the first American woman to receive Rinzai Zen transmission. Her talk: "A Buddhist Perspective on Consciousness."
Peter Ulric Tse, professor of psychology and brain sciences at Dartmouth
Professor Tse graduated from Dartmouth with a BA in physics, went on to receive a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Harvard and completed post-doctorate studies at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. His talk: "Attention in the Brain: Where Volition and Consciousness Come Together to Create our Subjective Reality."
Adam Frank, professor of astrophysics at University of Rochester
Professor Frank studies the late stages of stellar evolution and the evolution of planets outside our solar system. His popular writing concerns issues of science in the context of religion and culture. His talk: "Physics, Philosophy and Mind: A New Path to the Waterfall"
Evan Thompson, professor of philosphy at University of British Columbia.
Professor Thompson writes about cognitive science, phenomenology, the philosophy of the mind and cross-cultural philosophy, especially Buddhist philosophy in dialogue with Western philosophy of mind and cognitive science. His talk: "The Nature of Consciousness: A Neurophenomenological Approach."
Thank you, first, to all who have contributed to the project to support Buddhist prisoners at Concord State Prison. So far we have collected $1750 and have purchased a dozen cushion sets for practice there. We hope to eventually raise another $750 to cover costs of the project. Below, "Zafus for Zenmates:" Cushions arrived, and loaded at the prison warehouse. (No cameras beyond this point.)