Closing Dialogue: Integration and Future Directions

Closing Dialogue: Integration and Future Directions


In this final session, we will seek to integrate the material that has been presented across the week, examining the implications for both scientific theory and investigation, as well as for Buddhist epistemology and philosophy. For example, do modern scientific findings about cognitive processes, such as perception and concept formation, agree with Buddhist views, and if not, what can we make of these differences? Can Buddhist views of self (and no-self) be investigated scientifically, and what can psychological and neuroscientific studies tell us about the nature of the self? Furthermore, how can we apply what we know from both Buddhism and science to our work in domains such as education, policy, and health care to create a better world? Finally, we will highlight areas for future investigation and dialogue and consider research implications in relevant fields.

  • Dialogue 30
    19 sessions
  • December 17, 2015
    Sera Monastery, Bylakuppe, India
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Bryce Johnson

Bryce Johnson, PhD, is the director of the Science for Monks project, and a staff scientist at the Exploratorium, a world-renowned science museum in San Francisco, California. He has been working continuously with the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives for 12 years. From 1999 to 2001 he lived in Dharamsala where he helped launch the Library's science education initiative. His formal education is in engineering, receiving a BS (1997) and MS (1999) in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During this time he began a deep appreciation for philosophy and science. In 2007, he completed a PhD in environmental engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2009 he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Texas A&M University at the Laboratory for Oceanographic and Environmental Research. His academic research and continued interest focuses on issues related to water quality, emphasizing the connection between humans and their impact on natural and built environments. Since joining the Exploratorium in 2010, he has worked with scientists, artists, and engineers, to develop new exhibits, public programs, and professional development programs for teachers. Through the Science for Monks project, Bryce has led the implementation of over 15 intensive science workshops, providing in total over 70 weeks of hand-on science training. In 2008, he helped establish the Sager Science Leadership Institute that trains monks and nuns to be leaders of science education, to grow and sustain the enduring capacity of the monastic community for learning science and dialogue with scientists.

Carol Worthman

Carol Worthman, PhD, currently holds the Samuel Candler Dobbs Chair in the Department of Anthropology at Emory University, where she also directs the Laboratory for Comparative Human Biology. After taking a dual undergraduate degree in biology and botany at Pomona College, Professor Worthman earned her PhD in biological anthropology at Harvard University, having also studied endocrinology at UCSD and neuroscience at MIT under Jack Geller and Richard Wurtman, respectively. She joined the nascent anthropology faculty at Emory University in 1986, and has helped to build its biocultural focus and establish its leadership position in the field. Professor Worthman takes a biocultural approach to pursuit of comparative interdisciplinary research on human development, reproductive ecology, and biocultural bases of differential mental and physical health. She has conducted cross-cultural ethnographic and biosocial research in twelve countries, including Kenya, Tibet, Nepal, Egypt, Japan, Papua New Guinea and South Africa, as well as in rural, urban, and semi-urban areas of the United States. For the past 20 years, she has collaborated with Jane Costello and Adrian Angold in the Great Smoky Mountains Study, a large, longitudinal, population-based developmental epidemiological project in western North Carolina. She also heads the Neuroscience division of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, and has been developing and teaching scientific curriculum to monastic students in Dharamsala since 2006.

Catherine Kerr

Catherine Kerr, PhD, is Director of the VITALITY PROJECT situated in the embodied neuroscience lab at Brown University. She also directs the translational neuroscience initiative in Brown's Contemplative Studies Initiative. Her research investigates the effects of embodied contemplative practice on brain networks, with a specific focus on mindfulness, qigong and Tai Chi. For the VITALITY PROJECT, she is investigating novel neuro-immune hypotheses related to embodiment, assessing the effects of qigong on fatigue and the experience of energy. The larger goal of the VITALITY PROJECT is to discover neural mechanisms underlying the experience of "energy" and "qi."

Christy Wilson-Mendenhall

Christy Wilson-Mendenhall, PhD, is currently a Research Scientist in the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Lab at Northeastern University and Massachusetts General Hospital. She received her PhD in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience from Emory University in 2010, where she conducted research as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Christy’s experience bridges cognitive and affective science to understand the dynamic and varied emotional feelings that people experience in day-to-day life. Her work has, in large part, examined the idea that human emotions referred to as “sadness,” “fear,” “happiness,” and so on are complex and diverse mental states. Central to this approach is the idea that conceptual patterns developing in memory are fundamental in shaping emotional experiences. Thus, an individual’s emotional experiences vary from situation to situation, can be dramatically changed with new learning, and contribute to a rich and unique mental life. The parallels between this integrative, interdisciplinary approach to studying emotion and contemplative philosophies recently inspired a new line of grant-funded research investigating proposed “destructive” and “virtuous” emotional experiences. Christy has also developed neuroscience courses and taught with the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, a program that brings science education to the Tibetan monastic community in India. Her research and teaching promotes an interdisciplinary, basic science approach to investigating mental suffering, flourishing, and psychological growth.

David Vago

David Vago, PhD, is an Associate Psychologist in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and instructor at Harvard Medical School. He has completed postdoctoral fellowships in neuroimaging, pain research, and the Stuart T. Hauser Research Training Program in Biological & Social Psychiatry. David has previously held the position of Senior Research Coordinator for the Mind & Life Institute and is currently a Mind and Life Fellow. He received his BA in Brain & Cognitive Sciences in 1997 from the University of Rochester. In 2005, David received his PhD in Cognitive & Neural Sciences with a specialization in learning and memory from the University of Utah. David's research interests broadly focus on utilizing translational models to identify and characterize neurobiological substrates mediating psychopathology, to better predict outcomes and potential biologically-based diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for those suffering with mental illness. David has been specifically focusing on the study of mindfulness-based interventions in clinical settings, and the basic neurocogni tive mechanisms by which mindfulness-based practices function. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, spoken at international conferences, and his research has been covered by mainstream news outlets such as the Huffington Post, Boston Globe, and NPR, among others.

Geshe Dadul Namgyal

Geshe Dadul Namgyal began his Buddhist studies in 1977 at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, Dharamsala, and completed them at Drepung Loseling Monastic University, South India, earning the Geshe Lharampa Degree in 1992. He also holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He represented his monastery on two year-long tours across the Americas. Later, he was Principal of Drepung Loseling School for five years. He then joined Central University of Tibetan Studies (CUTS), Sarnath, India, as Lecturer in the Department of Indian Buddhism for seven years. He has also served for several years as one of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s religious translators in English. During this period, he traveled extensively with His Holiness as an entourage member on visits both within India and abroad. Since early 2010, he has been serving as Senior Resident Teacher at Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta, USA. He also serves in the team of translators for the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, engaged in preparing a 6-year science curriculum in Tibetan to be used in Tibetan monasteries and nunneries. He has published a Tibetan translation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Power of Compassion, a language manual, Learn English through Tibetan, and a critical edition of Tsongkhapa’s Speech of Gold, among others. His translation into Tibetan of Professor Jay Garfield’s Western Idealism and Its Critics was published by CUTS under the title nub phyogs pa’i sems gtso’i grub mtha’ dang der rgol ba rnams kyi lugs, and formally released in December, 2010.

Geshe Lhakdor

Geshe Lhakdor is the Director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India. He has served as His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s religious assistant and translator for many years and represents His Holiness’s vision and work at various national and international conferences and forums. Geshe Lhakdor studied Buddhist philosophy at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, where he received his Master of Prajnaparamita, and in 1989 his Master of Madhyamika with distinction in both. In 1989 he also received his Master of Philosophy (MPhil) from the University of Delhi. From 1986-1989, Geshe Lhakdor served as a translator and research assistant in the Tibet House, Cultural Centre of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi. In 1989 he joined the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as his religious assistant and translator, and since then has accompanied him in this capacity to over thirty countries around the world. In 1995, he received his Geshe Degree from the Drepung Loseling Monastic University in South India. He has translated, co-translated and co-produced several books by His Holiness, including The Way to Freedom, The Joy of Living and Dying in Peace, and Awakening the Mind and Lightening the Heart, among others. Geshe Lhakdor is a trustee of the Foundation for Universal Responsibility, Director of the Central Archive of His Holiness, a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Tibetan Classics in Montreal, Canada, and Honorary Professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Tenzin Gyatso, the14th Dalai Lama, is the leader of Tibetan Buddhism and a spiritual leader revered worldwide. He was born on July 6, 1935, in a small village called Taktser in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, he was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the 13th Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lamas are manifestations of the Buddha of Compassion, who choose to reincarnate for the purpose of serving human beings. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989, he is universally respected as a spokesman for the compassionate and peaceful resolution of human conflict. He has traveled extensively, speaking on subjects including universal responsibility, love, compassion and kindness. Less well known is his intense personal interest in the sciences; he has said that if he were not a monk, he would have liked to be an engineer. As a youth in Lhasa it was he who was called on to fix broken machinery in the Potala Palace, be it a clock or a car. He has a vigorous interest in learning the newest developments in science, and brings to bear both a voice for the humanistic implications of the findings, and a high degree of intuitive methodological sophistication.

Jay Garfield

Jay Garfield, PhD, is Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor of Humanities and Head of Studies in Philosophy at Yale-NUS College, Professor of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore, Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at Smith College, Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Yale University, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the Central University of Tibetan Studies. He studies the philosophy of mind and foundations of cognitive science, Buddhist philosophy, 19th and 20th Century In dian philosophy, hermeneutics, ethics, logic and developmental psycholinguistics. He is author or editor of over 20 books and over 100 scholarly articles. Jay's most recent books are Moonpaths: Ethics and Emptiness (with the Cowherds); The Moon Points Back: Buddhism, Logic and Analytic Philosophy (with the Koji Tanaka, Graham Priest and Yasuo Deguchi); Madhyamaka and Yogācāra: Allies or Rivals (with Jan Westerhoff); and Engaging Buddhism: Why it Matters to Philosophy.

Joan Halifax

Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD, is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. Founder, abbot, and head teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she received her PhD in medical anthropology in1973 while teaching at the University of Miami Medical School. She has been awarded a National Science Foundation fellowship in visual anthropology and an honorary research fellowship in medical ethnobotany at Harvard University, and was named a distinguished visiting scholar at the Library of Congress. From 1972–1975, she worked with psychiatrist Stanislav Grof at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center with dying cancer patients. She has continued to work with dying people and their families, and she teaches healthcare professionals and family caregivers about the psychosocial, ethical, and spiritual aspects of caring for the dying. She is director of the Project on Being with Dying, and founder and director of the Upaya Prison Project, which has developed programs on meditation for prisoners. She studied with Zen teacher Seung Sahn, received the Lamp Transmission from Thich Nhat Hanh, and was given Inka by Roshi Bernie Glassman. A founding teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order, her work and practice for more than four decades has focused on applied Buddhism.

John Dunne

John Dunne, PhD, holds the Distinguished Chair in Contemplative Humanities at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a joint appointment in the newly formed Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. His work focuses on Buddhist philosophy and contemplative practice, especially in dialogue with cognitive science. His publications include a monograph on Dharmakirti, and scientific studies of Buddhist contemplative practice with colleagues from various institutions, including the CIHM. His most recent work focuses on the nature of mindfulness in both theoretical and practical contexts. He was educated at the United States Air Force Academy, Amherst College, and Harvard University, where he received his PhD from the Committee on the Study of Religion in 1999.

Khenpo Sonam Tsewang

Khenpo Sonam Tsewang is a Khenpo (equivalent to Professor of Buddhism) at Ngagyur Nyingma Institute, the advanced center of Buddhist philosophical study and practice at Namdroling Monastery, Bylakuppe. He completed his training in Buddhism at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Varanasi, and also at the Ngagyur Nyingma Institute, Namdroling. He has translated for His Holiness Penor Rinpoche and Khenchen Pema Sherab Rinpoche on many occasions. He has published English translations of books such as How to Follow a Spiritual Master, The All Pervading Melodious Sound of Thunder: the Outer Liberation Story of Terton Migyur Dorje and Drops of Nectar. He was enthroned as a Khenpo at Namdroling Monastery in 2010 by His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche. Khenpo So nam is presently overseeing the Buddhist textual research scholarship project at Ngagyur Nyingma Research Center and also the translation classes (Padma Mani Translation Committee) at Namdroling Monastery. He regularly teaches Buddhism at Thubten Lekshey Ling Tibetan Buddhist Center at Bangalore, and also visits Pune in Maharashtra and Calicut in Kerala to give teachings.

Lera Boroditsky

Lera Boroditsky, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of California-San Diego and Editor in Chief of Frontiers in Cultural Psychology. She previously served on the faculty at MIT and at Stanford. Her research investigates the relationships between mind, world, and language. She has been named one of 25 Visionaries changing the world by the Utne Reader, and is also a Searle Scholar, a McDonnell scholar, recipient of an NSF Career award, and an APA Distinguished Scientist lecturer.

Lobsang Tenzin Negi

Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, PhD, is the founder and director of Drepung Loseling Monastery, Inc., in Atlanta, GA, and a Senior Lecturer in Emory University’s Department of Religion. He also serves as director of the Emory-Tibet Partnership, a multi- dimensional initiative founded in 1998 to bring together the foremost contributions of the Western scholastic tradition and the Tibetan Buddhist sciences of mind and healing. In this capacity, he serves as co-director of both the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative and the Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies. He also developed Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), a compassion meditation program that is currently utilized in a number of research studies, including an NIH-funded study examining the efficacy of compassion meditation on the experience of depression. Geshe Lobsang, a former monk, was born in Kinnaur, a small Himalayan kingdom adjoining Tibet. He began his monastic training at The Institute of Buddhist Dialectics and continued his education at Drepung Loseling Monastery in South India, where he received his Geshe Lharampa degree, the highest academic degree granted in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, in Geshe Dadul Namgyal Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi 1994. Gehse Lobsang completed his PhD at Emory University in 1999; his interdisciplinary dissertation centered on traditional Buddhist and contemporary Western approaches to emotions and their impact on wellness.

Matthieu Ricard

Matthieu Ricard, PhD, is a Buddhist monk at Schechen Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. Born in France in 1946, he received a PhD in cellular genetics at the Institut Pasteur under Nobel Laureate FrancoisJacob. As a hobby, he wrote Animal Migrations (1969).He first traveled to the Himalayas in 1967 and has lived there since 1972, studying with Kangyur Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, two of the most eminent Tibetan teachers of our times. Since 1989, he has served as the French interpreter for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He is the author of The Monk and the Philosopher (with his father, the French thinker Jean-Francois Revel); The Quantum and the Lotus (with the astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan); Happiness, A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Import-ant Skill; and Why Meditate?. He has translated several books from Tibetan into English and French, including The Life of Shabkar and The Heart of Compassion.As a photographer, Matthieu has published several albums, including The Spirit of Tibet, Buddhist Himalayas, Tibet, Motionless Journey, and Bhutan. He devotes all of the proceeds from his books and much of his time to 120 humanitarian projects in Tibet, Nepal, and India—and to the preservation of the Tibetan cultural heritage—through his charitable association, Karuna-Shechen. Ricard has been deeply involved in the work of the Mind & Life Institute for many years.

Pawan Sinha

Pawan Sinha, PhD, is Professor of Computational and Visual Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He received his undergraduate degree in computer science from IIT, New Delhi, and his Master's and doctoral degrees from MIT. Using a combination of experimental and computational modeling techniques, research in Professor Sinha's laboratory focuses on understanding how the human brain learns to recognize objects through visual experience and how objects are encoded in memory. His experimental work on these issues involves studying healthy individuals and also those with challenges such as autism or blindness. The goal is not only to derive clues regarding the nature and development of high-level visual skills, but also to create better therapeutic routines to help children overcome sensory or cognitive impairments. Professor Sinha is a recipient of the Pisart Vision Award from the Lighthouse Guild, the PECASE (US Government's highest award for young scientists), the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship in Neuroscience, the Troland Award from the National Academies, the inaugural Asia GameChangers Award from AsiaSociety, the Oberdorfer Award from ARVO Foundation, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Delhi. He has been named a Global Indus Technovator, and has also been inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for creating the world's smallest reproduction of a printed book.

Professor Geshe Yeshe Thabkhe

Professor Geshe Yeshe Thabkhe was born in Lhokha, Central Tibet and became a monk of Drepung Loseling at the age of 13. He excelled in his studies, and eventually received his Rabjamba Degree in 1958, and later was awarded Geshe Lharam, the highest academic degree offered in the Geluk School of Tibetan Bud dhism at Drepung Monastic University. He served as a lecturer at the School of Buddhist Philosophy, Leh, Ladakh and at Sanskrit University in Sarnath. He is currently a professor of Mool Shastra (Indian Tradition of Buddhist Philosophy) at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, the only Tibetan university in India. Professor Thabkhe is regarded as one of the most eminent scholars of both the Madhyamaka tradition and the Indian Buddhist studies. His monumental works include translation of The Essence of Good Explanation of Definitive & Interpretable Meanings (Lek-Shey Nying-Po) by Tsong-kha-Pa into Hindi, as well as A Commentary on the Rice Seedlings (Salistamba) Sutra by Kamalashila. He has also facilitated the completion of numerous research works including a complete translation of Lama Tsong kha-pa's Lam rim chen mo Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment.

Richard Davidson

Richard J. Davidson, PhD, is the founder and chairman of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, and the director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience and the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, both at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He was educated at New York University and Harvard University, where he received his bachelor’s of arts and PhD degrees, respectively, in psychology. Over the course of his research career, he has focused on the relationship between brain and emotion. He is currently the William James professor and Vilas research professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin. He is co-author or editor of 13 books, including Visions of Compassion: Western Scientists and Tibetan Buddhists Examine Human Nature, The Handbook of Affective Science, and The Emotional Life of Your Brain. Davidson has published more than 300 chapters and journal articles, and is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his work, including the Research Scientist Award from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served on the board of directors for the Mind & Life Institute since 1992. In 2006, Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and he received the first Mani Bhaumik Award from UCLA for advances in the understanding of the role of the brain and the conscious mind in healing.

Tenzin Lhadron

Tenzin Lhadron was born and grew up in Ladakh in northern India. After hearing His Holiness give teachings and encourage the people of her town to study Buddhism, she was fortunate to be able to travel with a senior nun to Dharamsala, and join the Jamyang Choling nunnery. From 1989-2007, she studied Tibetan Language, English and Buddhist philosophy at Jamyang Choling, practicing monastic debate and completing five major Bud- dhist philosophical texts. While studying, Lhadron also held administrative positions for Jamyang Choling Institute, including Secretary/Assistant Director, disciplinarian, chatting master and store keeper. She has been engaging with Western science for many years, attending the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative from 2009-2013, and participating in two Monastic Graduate courses from Science for Monks. She has also participated in conferences and study tours in over five countries. Lhadron has completed the first three years of the Geshe examination, and plans to complete Geshe degree by the summer of 2016.

Thabkhe Lodroe

Thabkhe Lodroe is a Buddhist monastic with training in both science and Buddhist philosophy. Born in central Tibet, he came to India in 1997 by walking through the Himalayas to receive an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and to further his studies of Buddhist philosophy. He began studying science under the Science Meets Dharma and Science for Monks programs in 2003. In 2009, he received the Tenzin Gyatso Scholarship through the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative to join the first cohort of monks to study science in the US, spending three years at Emory University in Atlanta. After this period of study, Thabkhe returned to India to begin the Geluk monastic examinations. He is currently preparing to finish the last year of these exams, and he also now teaches science to other monastics at the Sera Jey Science Centre at Sera Monastery.

Thupten Jinpa

Thupten Jinpa, PhD, was trained as a monk at the Shartse College of Ganden Monastic University, South India, where he received the Geshe Lharam degree. In addition, Jinpa holds a bachelor’s honors degree in philosophy and a PhD in religious studies, both from Cambridge University. He taught at Ganden monastery and worked as a research fellow in Eastern religions at Girton College, Cambridge University. Jinpa has been the principal English translator to His Holiness the Dalai Lama since 1985 and has translated and edited numerous books by the Dalai Lama, including the New York Times best-sellers Ethics for the New Millennium and The Art of Happiness, as well as Beyond Religion, Universe in a Single Atom, and Transforming the Mind. His own publications include, in addition to numerous Tibetan works, Essential Mind Training; Wisdom of the Kadam Masters; Self, Reality, and Reason in Tibetan Philosophy: Tsongkhapa’s Quest for the Middle View; as well as translations of major Tibetan works featured in The Library of Tibetan Classics series. He is the main author of Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT), an eight-week formal program developed at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University. Jinpa is an adjunct professor on the faculty of religious studies at McGill University, Montreal; the founder and president of the Institute of Tibetan Classics, Montreal; and the general series editor of The Library of Tibetan Classics series. He has been a core member of the Mind & Life Institute from its inception. Jinpa lives in Montreal and is married with two daughters.

Vasudevi Reddy

Vasudevi Reddy, PhD, is a Professor of Developmental and Cultural Psychology at the University of Portsmouth, UK. She completed her studies in Hyderabad, India and in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has been interested for nearly three decades in the origins and development of social cognition, mainly in young infants. She has focused particularly on the everyday phenomena of infancy that are familiar to parents and caregivers but not often investigated in science—such as teasing, clowning, showing off, and feeling shy. She is the Director of the Centre for Situated Action and Communication at Portsmouth, which explores the impact of context and situation on different kinds of psychological phenomena. Her interest in engagement as the route to understanding has led her to questions about the nature and influence of cultural engagement on social understanding, and to arguments about the dialogical and cultural nature of self and development. She is the author of How Infants Know Minds, published by Harvard University Press with Japanese, Italian, Korean and Greek translations.

Wendy Hasenkamp

Wendy Hasenkamp holds a PhD in Neuroscience from Emory University, where her graduate and early postdoctoral training centered around understanding the pathology of schizophrenia, utilizing techniques ranging from single-cell gene expression to psychophysiology, and from cognitive testing to neuroimaging. More recently, growing out of her personal interest in contemplative practice, she used brain imaging to investigate the neural correlates of dynamic cognitive states that occur during shamatha-style meditation. In her time at Emory, Wendy was central in the development of the Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies, organizing an interdisciplinary seminar focused on exploring the application of contemplative practices in our modern society. She also has been deeply involved in developing neuroscience curriculum and teaching Tibetan monastics in India through the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative since 2009; she has taught summer sessions in Dharamsala for two years and is co-author and editor of several neuroscience textbooks developed through this program.

Werner Nater

Werner Nater, PhD, studied physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and received his doctorate for his work in atmospheric physics. He also holds a Master's Degree in Development and Cooperation. In addition, he is a dance and movement therapist and in this capacity has worked in Swiss psychiatric clinics. For some years Werner held a physics professor post at Zurich University of Applied Sciences. Later, after completing a Master's degree in Development and Cooperation, he managed a research project in forest ecology, and a foreign aid project in Nepal. Returning to Switzerland he took up his previous work in forest ecology and worked on air pollution. Dr. Na ter taught physics at a number of colleges, also working on school and curriculum development. More recently, he has played a central role in building the Science Meets Dharma programme, a project initiated by the Dalai Lama to teach science to nuns and monks in Buddhist monasteries in India. At present, he continues to teach in, and is Project Manager of, this venture based in Bylakuppe and Mundgod in Karnataka, India.

Yangsi Rinpoche

Yangsi Rinpoche was recognized at the age of six as the reincarnation of Geshe Ngawang Gendun, one of the great scholars from Sera Jey Monastery. Rinpoche earned the title of Geshe Lharampa, the highest degree in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and the equivalent of a PhD in Western education, at Sera Jey Monastery. He is the author of Practicing the Path, a commentary on the Lam Rim Chenmo. Yangsi Rinpoche is the founder and current President of Maitripa College, one of the first Buddhist Colleges in the Northwest, located in Portland, Oregon and the spiritual director of several Tibetan Buddhist centers in the United States. He travels widely teaching at various centers around the world.