Opening Comments with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Opening Comments with His Holiness the Dalai Lama


We will introduce the central themes of this meeting, discussing from scientific and philosophical perspectives the key questions in the study of perception, concepts and the self that will be considered this week. We will discuss the constructive nature of cognition, the possibility and possible nature of preconceptual cognition, and distinctions among different concepts of the self as articulated both in the Western philosophical and scientific and Buddhist traditions, as well as the origins of these concepts in our biology. We will discuss the possibility of neural and cognitive plasticity in each of these domains and, where there is evidence, the impact of different forms of contemplative training on these processes will be reviewed. We will attend to the variety of methodologies for studying these phenomena, the potential for collaboration between the Tibetan and Western traditions, and the implications of these questions for ethical development and for education in secular ethics.

  • Dialogue 30
    19 sessions
  • December 14, 2015
    Sera Monastery, Bylakuppe, India
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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.