Zen and the Brain: Toward an Understanding of Meditation and Consciousness

Paperback | October 15, 1999

byJames H. Austin

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Aldous Huxley called humankind's basic trend toward spiritual growth the "perennial philosophy." In the view of James Austin, the trend implies a "perennial psychophysiology" -- because awakening, or enlightenment, occurs only when the human brain undergoes substantial changes. What are the peak experiences of enlightenment? How could these states profoundly enhance, and yet simplify, the workings of the brain? Zen and the Brain presents the latest evidence. In this book Zen Buddhism becomes the opening wedge for an extraordinarily wide-ranging exploration of consciousness. In order to understand which brain mechanisms produce Zen states, one needs some understanding of the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the brain. Austin, both a neurologist and a Zen practitioner, interweaves the most recent brain research with the personal narrative of his Zen experiences. The science is both inclusive and rigorous; the Zen sections are clear and evocative. Along the way, Austin examines such topics as similar states in other disciplines and religions, sleep and dreams, mental illness, consciousness-altering drugs, and the social consequences of the advanced stage of ongoing enlightenment.

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Using Zen Buddhism as the background for exploring consciousness, this book examines the peak experiences of enlightenment. Zen and the Brain explains how the brain works and then how spiritual growth changes it. It also covers topics like sleep and dreams, mind-altering drugs and even the advanced stages of enlightenment.

From the Publisher

Aldous Huxley called humankind's basic trend toward spiritual growth the "perennial philosophy." In the view of James Austin, the trend implies a "perennial psychophysiology" -- because awakening, or enlightenment, occurs only when the human brain undergoes substantial changes. What are the peak experiences of enlightenment? How could ...

James H. Austin, clinical neurologist, researcher, and Zen practitioner, is Professor Emeritus of Neurology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Clinical Professor of Neurology at the University of Missouri (Columbia) School of Medicine. He is the author of Zen and the Brain, Chase, Chance, and Creativity, and Ze...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:872 pages, 10 × 7 × 1.5 inPublished:October 15, 1999Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262511096

ISBN - 13:9780262511094

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From Our Editors

Using Zen Buddhism as the background for exploring consciousness, this book examines the peak experiences of enlightenment. Zen and the Brain explains how the brain works and then how spiritual growth changes it. It also covers topics like sleep and dreams, mind-altering drugs and even the advanced stages of enlightenment.

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... remarkable in its synthesis of the mystical point of view with the scientific.