Filmed during Mind & Life Institute’s “Mind & Life XIII: Investigating the Mind: The Science and Clinical Applications of Meditation” on November 8, 2005.

Introduction & Opening Remarks
R. Adam Engle
Edward D. Miller
John J. DeGioia
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Session One – Meditation-Based Clinical Interventions: Science, Practice and Implementation
Ajahn Amaro
Richard J. Davidson
Jon Kabat-Zinn

This introductory session sets the stage for the rest of the meeting. It will establish a vocabulary and epistemology of meditative aware­ness stemming primarily from the teachings of the Buddha, in partic­ular, the Four Noble Truths, and introduce well-established clinical and research programs that are exploring the interfaces between medicine and meditation for patients with chronic health conditions, and between neuroscientific approaches to mind and brain and med­itative approaches stemming from the systematic cultivation of attention and awareness.

Father Keating will offer a Christian contemplative perspective to expand the conversation beyond a Buddhist meditative framework, pointing out commonalities and differences that may be of value in developing new models for meditative interventions and investiga­tions. Matthieu Ricard and Sharon Salzberg will offer their own unique perspectives on the interface between meditation and science and the challenges of living a full and healthy/wholesome life in these times.

MODERATOR: Matthieu Ricard

Thupten Jinpa
B. Alan Wallace

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Ajahn Amaro
Richard J. Davidson
Jon Kabat-Zinn
Thomas Keating
Sharon Salzberg



Ajahn Amaro: How Buddhist meditative practices can inform our understanding of pain and suffering, the potential for healing, the relief of suffering, and the underlying nature of the human mind – and body. Distinctions between pain and suffering are critical and relevant within the context of Buddhist thought and practice. This talk will map out a Buddhist perspective on suffering, its ultimate causes, the possibility of liberation from suffering, and a systematic path for its realization. It will touch on what Buddhists refer to as universal qual­ities of the human mind that are directly accessible through the cul­tivation of awareness through meditation.

Jon Kabat-Zinn: Some clinical applications of mindfulness medita­tion in medicine and psychiatry: The case of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). MBSR has been widely accepted, used, and studied within main­stream medicine and psychiatry for the past twenty five years. This talk will describe MBSR’s approach to making mindfulness, “the foundational core of Buddhist meditation,” accessible to Western medical patients in a secular form while preserving the universal dharma dimension at its heart. Results from two clinical trials will be presented, one on rates of skin clearing in psoriasis, the other on emotional processing in cortical regions of the brain, and accompa­nying effects of immune function. Directions in current and future research programs will be pointed out.

Richard Davidson: Mind-brain-body interaction and meditation

Many peripheral biological systems exist within a network of neural and humoral connections that mediate the influence of the brain on peripheral biological function. Afferent connections to the brain are reciprocated in most of these systems. This anatomical and func­tional arrangement permits the mind to influence the body and vice versa. Meditation is a form of mental training that involves the vol­untary alteration of patterns of neural activity that can produce con­sequences for peripheral biology through these mechanisms.

Examples from recent and ongoing studies of the neural, immune and endocrine changes produced by meditation will be presented to illustrate possible mechanisms via which meditation can promote increased mental and physical health.


Adam Engle, JD, MBA

Mind & Life Institute

Edward D. Miller, MD

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

John J. DeGioia, PhD

Georgetown University

Ajahn Amaro

Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery

Richard J. Davidson, PhD

William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder & Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Founder and Chief Visionary for Healthy Minds Innovations, Inc.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD

University of Massachusetts

Fellow, Founding Steward

Thupten Jinpa, PhD

Compassion Institute

Board Chair

Mind & Life Connections