Reflections on developments of Shamatha and distinction between concept and non-conceptual levels of mental experience

During the development of Shamatha, Alan Wallace describes 9 stages of development in which the quality and nature of mental activity changes. We are all familiar with the “monkey mind” and the sleepy mind that plague the meditator on the cushion. The monkey in our mind is a metaphor for what our mind does when […]

Roshi Joan Halifax Reflections on Conference

Dear friends, To see some more post-conference reflections, please visit:

A few more comments on the week

His holiness spoke of the lifeforce within us all, referred to as Jivitindriya and he described it as “the water sustains the lotus flower”. He spoke heavily about cultivating Bodicitta and one thought that arose from the dialogue was a very helpful mantra and form of koan: Do not reflect ON experience, use reflection as […]

April 10, 2009

Hi all, The meeting has finished, but the effects are likely to be long-lasting and it may take weeks or months for it all to sink in. That being said, I do plan to keep posting on the site my continued reflections and responding to the active discussion. Thank you all for such a rich […]

View from Youth

Cliff Saron’s lovely daughter Rayna has also been blogging and sent her blog address. To get a view of the meeting from youth, please visit!

Images from Day 5 Morning

women-praying-300x2251Dear friends, We are preparing for the final day here today. Philosopher Shaun Gallagher will present on phenomenology and the study of the mind. Shaun is quite interested in incorporating the body, social others, and social contexts in our study of the mind.  He will talk about how the orientation of the body, for instance, […]

Reflections on Day 4 – Emotion, Attention & Memory

Today the talks shifted to a focus on emotion and its relation to attention and memory. Dr. Liz Phelps from New York University began the morning by talking about how emotion is defined in the western scientific tradition and why we have them.  Liz noted that emotion means many different things, and is defined as […]

New Friends & Traditional Tibetan Music

One of the best parts of being here in Dharamsala is meeting new and incredibly interesting and heartfelt people who are all interested in and committed to enhancing the well-being of others. It has also been so nice to receive all of the wonderful comments from the broader sangha out there following the meeting. Thank […]

Adam Engle reflects on ML XVIII

Here is Adam: Adam Engle on ML XVIII

April 9, 2009

Today, Liz Phelps and Cliff Saron presented. The morning session involved engaging discussion concerning what emotion is. How to define it from both the Western cognitive neuroscience and psychological perspective and from the Buddhist perspective. Richie Davidson indicated that emotion can be operationalized in two ways: 1. Detecting stimuli that signal importance to the organism […]