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  2. Siddhartha Gautama - Ancient History Encyclopedia
  3. The foundations of Buddhism
  4. The Meditation Cure
  5. ISBN 13: 9781453724309

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Join our e-mail list! To subscribe, click here. Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor. Pauwels, M. Jun 28th Volume 15, Issue Buddhism first came to North America through Chinese immigrants who settled in the western parts of the United States beginning in the s, as well as by North Americans and Europeans who visited Asia and brought back with them Buddhist texts.

In the latter part of the s, the influence of Buddhist thought began showing up in the literary works of Walt Whitman, Henry Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Japanese Zen master Shaku Soen was one of the participants; he returned to the U.

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Three of his students went on to help establish Buddhism in the U. The BCA continues today as one of the largest and most stable Buddhist communities in the country. By the s and s, a number of Buddhist teachers emigrated to the U. During these decades, a wave of young people traveled to Asia in search of teachers and gurus, and to learn meditation. Some of them included Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, and Sharon Salzberg, who started the Insight Meditation Society ; Mirabai Bush, who helped found the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society ; and Jon Kabat-Zinn, who went on to pioneer innovative applications for meditation such as its use in health care and stress reduction.

Ironically, for a religion that values the cultivation of inner and outer peace, war and military conflict have played a role in bringing a number of streams of Buddhism to the West. Robert Aitken Roshi, founder of the Diamond Sangha , was a prisoner of war on Guam when he first learned Buddhist teachings.

Siddhartha Gautama - Ancient History Encyclopedia

The government of Vietnam refused to allow Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh to return to that country after he spoke out against the Vietnam War in Some of these findings — particularly with ants and pigeons — are contested. Researchers have tried to explain away others, arguing, for example, that gorillas have mentally regressed since their split from the other ape lineages because they face fewer pressures in their environment. But the recent discovery in monkeys is harder to dismiss. Last year, Liangtang Chang and colleagues at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, China, released video footage of a small group of rhesus macaques interacting with a mirror.

The foundations of Buddhism

It shows the monkeys contorting their bodies, tugging at their facial hair, inspecting their fingertips and making flashy displays of their genitals, all the while keeping their eyes on their reflections. They are captivated, leaving little doubt they recognise themselves. Yet, rhesus macaques have consistently failed the mirror test. What changed? In fact, there is anecdotal evidence of macaques in the lab showing a sudden interest in mirrors after being fitted with bulky neural recording devices that protrude from their heads.

To test this, they taught the monkeys to link vision and movement by giving them a food reward for touching a projected laser dot.

At first, the researchers shone the laser where the monkeys could easily see it, then gradually worked up to shining it in places only visible in the mirror. Fast-forward a few weeks of practice, and they passed the face-mark test with flying colours.

The Meditation Cure

That, in turn, raises the possibility that self-awareness is much more widespread than we think. So, what do we know about the evolution of this prized trait? Many psychologists and anthropologists hold that there is a hierarchy of consciousness that corresponds with increasing brain complexity. At its base is the minimal consciousness attributed to animals with simple nervous systems. These minds are thought to be permanently adrift in a sea of raw sensory experiences, tossed around between perceptions such as colour, hunger, warmth and fear, with little awareness of their meaning.

Few minds are sophisticated enough to experience the world differently — through an introspective lens.

ISBN 13: 9781453724309

Even then, they may have a limited sense of self. What is the evidence for this hierarchy? After all, mental complexity is a slippery concept and, besides, none of us has insight into even the mind of another human, let alone a bat or a beetle. This disparity is mainly the result of the differing evolutionary demands that animals must meet to survive.

For example, the nervous system of a sedentary, filter-feeding oyster consists of just two cell clusters. These allow it to do exactly what an oyster needs to do — control its digestion, and transmit signals from light-sensing tentacles to the muscle that snaps it shut when a predator looms. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, there is one particular demand that seems to have led to the evolution of complex brains and could also have created the conditions for a sense of self to arise.

That challenge is dealing with the minds of others — be they prey, competitors or other members of your social group. To achieve this, brains needed to evolve from being simply things that experience sensations and thoughts to becoming their observer.

To do this, they needed to build a model of a mind, according to neuroscientist Michael Graziano at Princeton University. A model — be it for mind reading, weather forecasting or whatever — usually starts with some assumptions about the factors that contribute to the system in question and their relative importance. It then runs a simulation and, depending on how much the result diverges from physical observations, modifies the assumptions. The model thus acquires an accurate representation of the forces at work, allowing it to make reasonable predictions about the future.

If he is correct, then what you consciously experience is the simulation.