Zen-Brain Reflections: Reviewing Recent Developments in Meditation and States of Consciousness

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Zen-Brain Reflections: Reviewing Recent Developments in Meditation and States of Consciousness

Format:  Paperback,

586 pages

Publisher: Mit Pr

Publish Date: Sep 2010

ISBN-13: 9780262514859

ISBN-10: 0262514850

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.

This sequel to the widely read Zen and the Brain continues James Austin's explorations into the key interrelationships between Zen Buddhism and brain research. In Zen-Brain Reflections, Austin, a clinical neurologist, researcher, and Zen practitioner, examines the evolving psychological processes and brain changes associated with the path of long-range meditative training. Austin draws not only on the latest neuroscience research and new neuroimaging studies but also on Zen literature and his personal experience with alternate states of consciousness.Zen-Brain Reflections takes up where the earlier book left off. It addresses such questions as: how do placebos and acupuncture change the brain? Can neuroimaging studies localize the sites where our notions of self arise? How can the latest brain imaging methods monitor meditators more effectively? How do long years of meditative training plus brief enlightened states produce pivotal transformations in the physiology of the brain? In many chapters testable hypotheses suggest ways to correlate normal brain functions and meditative training with the phenomena of extraordinary states of consciousness.After briefly introducing the topic of Zen and describing recent research into meditation, Austin reviews the latest studies on the amygdala, frontotemporal interactions, and paralimbic extensions of the limbic system. He then explores different states of consciousness, both the early superficial absorptions and the later, major "peak experiences." This discussion begins with the states called kensho and satori and includes a fresh analysis of their several different expressions of "oneness." He points beyond the still more advanced states toward that rare ongoing stage of enlightenment that is manifest as "sage wisdom."Finally, with reference to a delayed "moonlight" phase of kensho, Austin envisions novel links between migraines and metaphors, moonlight and mysticism. The Zen perspective on the self and consciousness is an ancient one. Readers will discover how relevant Zen is to the neurosciences, and how each field can illuminate the other.

Specifications

Publisher: Mit Pr
Publish Date: Sep 2010
ISBN-13: 9780262514859
ISBN-10: 0262514850
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 586
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.95
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.75 x 9.0 x 1.5
Walmart No.: 9780262514859

Chapter outline

Contents in Detail
Chapters Containing Testable Hypotheses
List of Figures
List of Tables
Preface
Acknowledgments
By Way of Introduction
Starting to Point toward Zen
Meditating
Neurologizing
Exploring States of Consciousness
Quickening
The Absorptions
Insightful Awakenings
Openings into Being; and Beyond to the Stage of Ongoing Enlightened Traits
Pointing at Moonlight: Allusions and Illusions
In Closing
Appendixes
Other Links between the Moon and Enlightenment in the Old Zen Literature
On Wilderness Poetry during the Tang and Sung Periods
Daio Kokushi On Zen
Glossary
References and Notes
Source Notes
Index

Book description

This sequel to the widely read Zen and the Brain continues James Austin'sexplorations into the key interrelationships between Zen Buddhism and brain research. In Zen-Brain Reflections, Austin, a clinical neurologist, researcher, and Zen practitioner, examines the evolvingpsychological processes and brain changes associated with the path of long-range meditativetraining. Austin draws not only on the latest neuroscience research and new neuroimaging studies butalso on Zen literature and his personal experience with alternate states of consciousness.Zen-Brain Reflections takes up where the earlier book left off.

It addresses such questions as: how doplacebos and acupuncture change the brain? Can neuroimaging studies localize the sites where ournotions of self arise? How can the latest brain imaging methods monitor meditators more effectively? How do long years of meditative training plus brief enlightened states produce pivotaltransformations in the physiology of the brain? In many chapters testable hypotheses suggest ways tocorrelate normal brain functions and meditative training with the phenomena of extraordinary statesof consciousness.

After briefly introducing the topic of Zen and describing recent research intomeditation, Austin reviews the latest studies on the amygdala, frontotemporal interactions, andparalimbic extensions of the limbic system. He then explores different states of consciousness, boththe early superficial absorptions and the later, major "peak experiences". This discussion beginswith the states called kensho and satori and includes a fresh analysis of their several differentexpressions of "oneness". He points beyond the still more advanced states toward that rare ongoingstage of enlightenment that is manifest as "sage wisdom". Finally, with reference to a delayed"moonlight" phase of kensho, Austin envisions novel links between migraines and metaphors, moonlightand mysticism. The Zen perspective on the self and consciousness is an ancient one. Readers willdiscover how relevant Zen is to the neurosciences, and how each field can illuminate theother.

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