From Emory to Berlin

The past week has been packed with remarkable moments. We started with Emory University where 8,000 people filled the stadium to hear His Holiness speak about secular ethics and education, which in the last year has become a central part of Mind and Life’s work. The webcast is available so I need not try to summarize the talks, but perhaps a word about an unexpected event: shortly before lunch one of His Holiness’ attendants approached Richard Davidson and me with the request from the Dalai Lama to join him for lunch. The two of us were able to eat with him and Thupten Jinpa, his interpreter, and give a full report on the progress we have made on various projects, including secular ethics, and upcoming events of Mind and Life. That evening I boarded a plane for Berlin and the MLI Symposium.

In Berlin, the European Advisory Council and Board met prior to the Mind & Life Europe Symposium to review and plan for the next few years of activity in Europe. The European Summer Research Institute (modeled on the US SRI) will take place on Fraueninsel in the Kiemsee at the end of August 2014. The line-up of faculty is terrific and includes Wolf and Tania Singer, Evan Thompson, Michel Bitbol, Stephen Batchelor, and several others. It promises to be a wonderful occasion, especially for those wanting to learn about Mind and Life’s distinctive integrative approach to research.

The Mind and Life European Symposium on Personal and Societal Transformation was a great success with over 400 participants coming over three days. Video recordings of the plenary sessions will be posted in the coming weeks, but suffice it to say that the quality of each offering was very high. Twenty-nine countries were represented with over a dozen participants from Sweden, several from Australia and New Zealand, Japan and Hong Kong. Many expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to meet others with a common interest.

On Saturday evening Tania Singer invited the presenters to gather at her apartment in Berlin. As you can see from the iPhone photo, it was a great occasion. We have much to be grateful for. With much hard work by Diego Hangartner and his team we pulled off a great event and launched Mind Life Europe in a fine manner.

In a few minutes I head to the airport and Japan for a preparatory meeting with those in Kyoto University’s Kokoro Research Center who are partnering with us for the first MLI Japan event with HH the Dalai Lama.