Filmed during Mind & Life Institute’s “Mind & Life XIV: The Universe in a Single Atom” on April 9-13, 2007.
Buddhist psychology and philosophy make strong claims about the primary of subjective experience and from this perspective, Buddhist accounts have argued that there are three fundamentally distinct features of our world: 1. matter comprised of physical objects; 2. mind comprised of subjective experiences; and 3. abstract composites comprised of mental formations. Western science has grounded the study of consciousness and subjective experience in terms of the functions of the brain. The Buddhist account questions the adequacy of this reductionistic proposition and suggests that there remains a large explanatory gap. As His Holiness has asked, how do we explain the emergence of consciousness? What marks the transition from sentient to non-sentient beings?
INTERPRETER: Thupten Jinpa
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
R. Adam Engle
Bennet M. Shapiro