Visions of Compassion: Western Scientists and Tibetan Buddhists Examine Human Nature

Hardcover | October 15, 2001

EditorRichard J. Davidson, Anne Harrington

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This book examines how Western behavioral science--which has generally focused on negative aspects of human nature--holds up to cross-cultural scrutiny, in particular the Tibetan Buddhist celebration of the human potential for altruism, empathy, and compassion. Resulting from a meetingbetween the Dalai Lama, leading Western scholars, and a group of Tibetan monks, this volume includes excerpts from these extraordinary dialogues as well as engaging essays exploring points of difference and overlap between the two perspectives.

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This book examines how Western behavioral science--which has generally focused on negative aspects of human nature--holds up to cross-cultural scrutiny, in particular the Tibetan Buddhist celebration of the human potential for altruism, empathy, and compassion. Resulting from a meetingbetween the Dalai Lama, leading Western scholars, ...

Richard J. Davidson is Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin. He is co-author or editor of seven books and is a Core Member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Mind-Body Interactions. Anne Harrington is Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University. She is the Associate Directo...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.29 × 6.18 × 1.18 inPublished:October 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019513043X

ISBN - 13:9780195130430

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Table of Contents

ContributorsPart 1: Historical and Philosophical Background1. Zara Houshmound et al.: Training the Mind: First Steps in a Cross-Cultural Collaboration in Neuroscientific Research2. Anne Harrington: The Thing Known or the Knowing Eye? Conceiving Compassion between Science and Buddhism3. Georges Dreyfus: Is Compassion an Emotion? A Cross-Cultural Exploration of Mental Typologies4. Elliott Sober: Kindness and Cruelty in Evolution5. His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Understanding Our Fundamental NatureDialogues, Part 1: Fundamental QuestionsPart 2: Social, Behavioral, and Biological Explorations of Altruism, Compassion, and Related Constructs6. Richard Davidson: Toward a Biology of Positive Affect and Compassion7. Nancy Eisenberg: Empathy-Related Emotional Responses, Altruism, and Their Socialization8. Ervin Staub: Emergency Helping, Genocidal Violence, and the Evolution of Responsibility and Altruism9. Robert H. Frank: Altruism in Competitive EnvironmentsDialogues, Part 2: Pragmatic Extensions and ApplicationsAppendix: About the Mind and Life InstituteIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This is a work that will be accessible for undergraduates and graduates with an interest in ethics, altruism, Buddhist spiritual practice, evolutions, and neuro-psychologyThe essays are fully referenced, serving as a valuable resource for further reflectionI heartily recommend this work toindividuals interested in the emerging dialogue among religion, spirituality and science."--Religious Studies Review, Harvey B. Aronson