Zen Brain Reflections

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Zen-Brain Reflections

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Zen-Brain Reflections by James H. Austin Book Resume:

This sequel to the widely read Zen and the Brain continues James Austin's explorations into the key interrelationships between Zen Buddhism and brain research. In Zen-Brain Reflections, Austin, a clinical neurologist, researcher, and Zen practitioner, examines the evolving psychological processes and brain changes associated with the path of long-range meditative training. Austin draws not only on the latest neuroscience research and new neuroimaging studies but also on Zen literature and his personal experience with alternate states of consciousness.Zen-Brain Reflections takes up where the earlier book left off. It addresses such questions as: how do placebos and acupuncture change the brain? Can neuroimaging studies localize the sites where our notions of self arise? How can the latest brain imaging methods monitor meditators more effectively? How do long years of meditative training plus brief enlightened states produce pivotal transformations in the physiology of the brain? In many chapters testable hypotheses suggest ways to correlate normal brain functions and meditative training with the phenomena of extraordinary states of consciousness.After briefly introducing the topic of Zen and describing recent research into meditation, Austin reviews the latest studies on the amygdala, frontotemporal interactions, and paralimbic extensions of the limbic system. He then explores different states of consciousness, both the early superficial absorptions and the later, major "peak experiences." This discussion begins with the states called kensho and satori and includes a fresh analysis of their several different expressions of "oneness." He points beyond the still more advanced states toward that rare ongoing stage of enlightenment that is manifest as "sage wisdom."Finally, with reference to a delayed "moonlight" phase of kensho, Austin envisions novel links between migraines and metaphors, moonlight and mysticism. The Zen perspective on the self and consciousness is an ancient one. Readers will discover how relevant Zen is to the neurosciences, and how each field can illuminate the other.

Zen and the Brain

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Zen and the Brain by James H. Austin Book Resume:

A neuroscientist and Zen practitioner interweaves the latest research on the brain with his personal narrative of Zen. 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.

Zen-Brain Horizons

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Zen-Brain Horizons by James H. Austin Book Resume:

In Zen-Brain Horizons, James Austin draws on his decades of experience as a neurologist and Zen practitioner to clarify the benefits of meditative training. Austin integrates classical Buddhist literature with modern brain research, exploring the horizons of a living, neural Zen.When viewed in the light of today, the timeless wisdom of some Zen masters seems almost to have anticipated recent research in the neurosciences. The keen attentiveness and awareness that we cultivate during meditative practices becomes the leading edge of our subsequent mental processing. Austin explains how our covert, involuntary functions can make crucial contributions to the subtle ways we learn, intuit, and engage in creative activities. Austin begins by looking back at ancient Buddhist narratives. He then weaves together the major themes of self, attention, emotion, language, and insight. He goes on to examine Zen and psychology as cultural developments, including recent information about how a clear, calm awareness can change the meditating brain. He considers the pathways through which intuitions develop on their way to becoming realized, exploring the phenomena of the spontaneous color imagery that arises during meditation. Looking out even further into the future, Austin discusses the universal themes of creativity, happiness, openness, and selflessness. Along the way, he bows in homage to William James, explores "Buddhist Botany" and "Avian Zen," demonstrates why living Zen means much more than sitting quietly indoors on a cushion, and provides simplified advice that helps guide readers to the most important points.

Chase, Chance, and Creativity

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Chase, Chance, and Creativity by James H. Austin Book Resume:

A personal story of the ways in which persistence, chance, and creativity interact in biomedical research. This first book by the author of Zen and the Brain examines the role of chance in the creative process. James Austin tells a personal story of the ways in which persistence, chance, and creativity interact in biomedical research; the conclusions he reaches shed light on the creative process in any field. Austin shows how, in his own investigations, unpredictable events shaped the outcome of his research and brought about novel results. He then goes beyond this story of serendipity to propose a new classification of the varieties of chance, drawing on his own research and examples from the history of science—including the famous accidents that led Fleming to the discovery of penicillin. Finally, he explores the nature of the creative process, considering not only the environmental and neurophysiological correlates of creativity but also the role of intuition in both scientific discoveries and spiritual quests. This updated MIT Press paperback edition includes a new introduction and recent material on medical research, creativity, and spirituality.

Living Zen Remindfully

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Living Zen Remindfully by James H. Austin Book Resume:

A seasoned Zen practitioner and neurologist looks more deeply at mindfulness, connecting it to our subconscious and to memory and creativity.

Contemplative Practices in Action

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Contemplative Practices in Action by Thomas G. Plante Book Resume:

This groundbreaking primer illuminates contemplative methods that can improve mental and physical health. * Foreword by renowned author and scholar Huston Smith, subject of the five-part PBS special, The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith * Contributions from 13 expert authors * Case studies showing how contemplative practices are being used to cope with modern stress and disorders among groups as diverse as caregivers, pregnant women, people living with HIV, and veterans dealing with PTSD

Zen and the Brain: The James H. Austin Omnibus Edition (Meditating Selflessly, Zen-Brain Horizons, and Living Zen Remindfully)

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Zen and the Brain: The James H. Austin Omnibus Edition (Meditating Selflessly, Zen-Brain Horizons, and Living Zen Remindfully) by James H. Austin Book Resume:

Three books on Zen and the brain by the celebrated Zen practitioner-neurologist James Austin. This compilation in digital form of three books by the celebrated Zen practitioner-neurologist James Austin offers concrete advice about various methods of meditation, provides timeless wisdom of Zen masters, integrates classical Buddhist literature with modern brain research, and explores mindfulness (and remindfulness) training. In these books, Austin clarifies the benefits of meditative training, guiding readers toward that open awareness awaiting them on the cushion and in the natural world. He discusses different types of meditation, meditation and problem-solving, and the meaning of enlightenment; addresses egocentrism (self-centeredness) and allocentrism (other-centeredness) and the blending of focal and global attention; and considers the illuminating confluence of Zen, clinical neurology, and neuroscience. He describes an everyday life of “living Zen” while drawing on the poetry of Basho, the seventeenth-century haiku master, and illuminates the world of authentic Zen training—the commitment to a process of regular, ongoing daily life practice that trains and enables us to unlearn unfruitful habits, develop more wholesome ones, and lead a more genuinely creative life.

Selfless Insight

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Selfless Insight by James H. Austin Book Resume:

When neurology researcher James Austin began Zen training, he found that his medical education was inadequate. During the past three decades, he has been at the cutting edge of both Zen and neuroscience, constantly discovering new examples of how these two large fields each illuminate the other. Now, in Selfless Insight, Austin arrives at a fresh synthesis, one that invokes the latest brain research to explain the basis for meditative states and clarifies what Zen awakening implies for our understanding of consciousness. Austin, author of the widely read Zen and the Brain, reminds us why Zen meditation is not only mindfully attentive but evolves to become increasingly selfless and intuitive. Meditators are gradually learning how to replace over-emotionality with calm, clear objective comprehension. In this new book, Austin discusses how meditation trains our attention, reprogramming it toward subtle forms of awareness that are more openly mindful. He explains how our maladaptive notions of self are rooted in interactive brain functions. And he describes how, after the extraordinary, deep states of kensho-satori strike off the roots of the self, a flash of transforming insight-wisdom leads toward ways of living more harmoniously and selflessly. Selfless Insight is the capstone to Austin's journey both as a creative neuroscientist and as a Zen practitioner. His quest has spanned an era of unprecedented progress in brain research and has helped define the exciting new field of contemplative neuroscience.

Meditating Selflessly

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Meditating Selflessly by James H. Austin Book Resume:

A guide to Zen meditative practice informed by the latest findings in brain research. This is not the usual kind of self-help book. Indeed, its major premise heeds a Zen master's advice to be less self-centered. Yes, it is "one more book of words about Zen," as the author concedes, yet this book explains meditative practices from the perspective of a "neural Zen." The latest findings in brain research inform its suggestions. In Meditating Selflessly, James Austin—Zen practitioner, neurologist, and author of three acclaimed books on Zen and neuroscience—guides readers toward that open awareness already awaiting them on the cushion and in the natural world. Austin offers concrete advice—often in a simplified question-and-answer format—about different ways to meditate. He clarifies both the concentrative and receptive styles of meditation. Drawing widely from the exciting new field of contemplative neuroscience, Austin helps resolve an ancient paradox: why both insight wisdom and selflessness arise simultaneously during enlightened states of consciousness.

Effortless Attention

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Effortless Attention by Brian Bruya Book Resume:

The phenomena of effortless attention and action and the challenges they pose to current cognitive models of attention and action.

Performance and Phenomenology

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Performance and Phenomenology by Maaike Bleeker,Jon Foley Sherman,Eirini Nedelkopoulou Book Resume:

This book offers a timely discussion about the interventions and tensions between two contested and contentious fields, performance and phenomenology, with international case studies that map an emerging 21st century terrain of critical and performance practice. Building on the foundational texts of both fields that established the performativity of perception and cognition, Performance and Phenomenology continues a tradition that considers experience to be the foundation of being and meaning. Acknowledging the history and critical polemics against phenomenological methodology and against performance as a field of study and category of artistic production, the volume provides both an introduction to core thinkers and an expansion on their ideas in a wide range of case studies. Whether addressing the use of dead animals in performance, actor training, the legal implications of thinking phenomenologically about how we walk, or the intertwining of digital and analog perception, each chapter explores a world comprised of embodied action and thought. The established and emerging scholars contributing to the volume develop insights central to the phenomenological tradition while expanding on the work of contemporary theorists and performers. In asking why performance and phenomenology belong in conversation together, the book suggests how they can transform each other in the process and what is at stake in this transformation.

Meditating Selflessly

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Meditating Selflessly by James H. Austin Book Resume:

Based on the Zen philosophy about focusing away from the self, a guide to "neural Zen" meditative practices draws on recent findings in brain research to outline recommendations for various methods of pursuing a balanced, selfless state of heightened awareness.

Passage to Nirvana

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Passage to Nirvana by Lee Carlson Book Resume:

On a beautiful spring day in 2002, Lee Carlson's life was transformed forever when he was hit by a careless, speeding driver. Father, husband, writer, son all that was about to change. Several days later he woke up in a hospital with a new identity: Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor. Unfortunately he knew all about Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. Just months before, his mother had fallen down a flight of basement stairs, crushing her brain and leaving her unable to walk, speak or feed herself. Passage to Nirvana tells the story of one person's descent into the hell of losing everything: family, home, health, even the ability to think and the slow climb back to a normal life. Told in a unique creative style brought on by the author's brain injury, combining short poems and essays in an interwoven, exuberant narrative, Passage to Nirvana recounts one person s struggle and ultimate joy at building a new life. The story takes the reader through Intensive Care Units, doctors offices and a profusion of therapy centers, eventually winding its way to sunlit oceans, quiet Zen meditation halls, white beaches, azure skies and a sailboat named Nirvana. Passage to Nirvana is a memoir, a treasury of Zen teachings and a sailor s yarn all rolled into one. Passage to Nirvana is an illustrative tale about finding a path to happiness after a traumatic life event, a book that will teach you about the Poetry of Living.

The 5-Minute Zen Journal

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The 5-Minute Zen Journal by True Potential Project Book Resume:

The 5-Minute Zen Journal is a no-nonsense, yet intelligent & calm journaling method. To integrate gratitude, confidence, and happiness into your daily life. This well-designed journal is the finest workbook for a calmer life.

The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology

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The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology by Wendy Doniger,Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty Book Resume:

This work deals at length with various theories about relgion prevalent at the time when Megasthenes visited India very interesting and scholarly views have been put forth regarding investigations of Megasthenes their reliability and the reliability of his reporters.

Zen Training

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Zen Training by Katsuki Sekida Book Resume:

Zen Training is a comprehensive handbook for zazen, seated meditation practice, and an authoritative presentation of the Zen path. The book marked a turning point in Zen literature in its critical reevaluation of the enlightenment experience, which the author believes has often been emphasized at the expense of other important aspects of Zen training. In addition, Zen Training goes beyond the first flashes of enlightenment to explore how one lives as well as trains in Zen. The author also draws many significant parallels between Zen and Western philosophy and psychology, comparing traditional Zen concepts with the theories of being and cognition of such thinkers as Heidegger and Husserl.

The Zen Brain

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The Zen Brain by Raven Walker Book Resume:

The greatest marvel of the universe is the human brain, but it comes without an instruction manual. The Zen Brain tells the compelling story of the human brain, from its astonishing appearance in evolution to its perplexing present form, with all its extraordinary abilities as well as its sorry penchant for aberration. If left uncultivated, the human mind grows like a weed garden. But when disciplined in the natural way, the human mind is the finest prize of nature. Such a mind also tends to be more effective, resilient, and happy. Part I, Foundations, begins with the origins of life that have moved relentlessly in one biological direction, a better brain. But the human brain appeared with abilities that far outstripped the environments that spawned it. It mediates between stimulus and response in a new way. It thinks. Oddly, we can all drive cars, yet there were no cars present when we emerged. Just as oddly, we can go insane without any apparent organic reason. Part II, Applications identifies and explains in depth the conditioning methods of self-betterment. With cultivation, the human brain becomes the natural mind that performs better, feels better, and simply works better in adapting us to the many strange, new environments we have created for ourselves. The potential for a finer mental life, a finer quality in experience, exists in all humans. But without discipline, you have to live in the weed garden all your life.

Beyond Belief

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Beyond Belief by Joe C,Joan Eyolfson Cadham,Amelia Chester Book Resume:

Rebellion Dogs Publishing is proud to announce a 21st century daily reflection book. Beyond Belief's 2014 second printing is now available with a Foreword by Ernie Kurtz and updated links and End Notes. What are "agnostic musings"? It is not news to anyone that the war of worldviews makes for sporting debate; does an intervening God grant sobriety, serenity, wisdom and courage or is conscious contact a delusion? Sorry, while we might be as amused as anyone with this question, Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life doesn't enter this debate. Hate the game; don't hate the players. A good idea is a good idea. Why dismiss valid experience because of the beliefs that someone harbors? Beliefs aren't facts. Beyond our belief is where life is happening: chances have to be taken; processes have to be evaluated; life has to be lived. Atheists, humanists, skeptics and agnostics will feel included in these daily reflections. Believers won't feel mocked or belittled. Everyone in recovery is included. No one needs to adopt the beliefs of someone else nor deny our own beliefs to get clean and sober. Believing and belonging are not synonymous. We are well into Century 21. Anyone should feel free to doubt or believe with impunity. Everyone's experience is a valid currency. The 12 Step community has no experts. Rebellion Dogs Publishing neither canonizes nor vilifies 12 Step culture. This book draws on philosophy, psychology, entertainment, art, spiritual musings, skeptical inquiry and the uncanny wisdom of the rooms. Professional and 12&12 Member reviews: Melissa D., Clinical Psychologist, California says, "I have never seen a daily devotional book written for agnostics. I found the readings to be extremely thought provoking. I wonder sometimes since there is such talk about God at meetings, what kind of turn-off that must be for agnostics. I think this book will be very helpful to both the newcomer and the mature 12 Step member." Bob K, contributor to AAagnositca.org says, "I expected his book to be good. It's WAY, WAY better than good. The book is outstanding. Two decades of not being a 'daily reflections' kind of guy, are over. Now I have reflections worth reflecting over! Buy this book or you will suffer a horrible and painful death! Well, maybe not, but you'll be missing out on something very good." Michel D. says, "AA can, and must, adapt to changing circumstances and Bill Wilson was the first one to admit it. Unfortunately, members who have come after him are more zealous than our first members. We have seen this dogmatism in history before of course, especially in religion. This is a very slippery slope. I really like the fact that these reflections are for anyone who has an open mind. It does not cater to a specific group to the exclusion of others. " Denis K. says, "Many thanks for this great book; my Monday night group and I are having some great discussions related to the daily musings both at the group and often during the week over coffee. All of us were quickly losing interest in the local meetings; Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life gave all of us a much needed spark that has renewed our interest in the fellowship." Dr. Amy, MSW, PhD, adds, "One criticism of the 12 Step movement of course is that its dogma can be limiting-Beyond Belief seems to have addressed this. The quotes are cogent, the organization superb and the contributors are diverse." The book includes an index of over 120 topics, extensive notes and a bibliography.

Doubt and Certainty in Science

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Doubt and Certainty in Science by John Zachary Young Book Resume:

Young's thesis concludes that the higher activities of humans can be illuminated through an examination of the actual brain functions that produce them, and that these processes can be closely compared to those of a calculating machine.

Zen and the Art of Consciousness

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Zen and the Art of Consciousness by Susan Blackmore Book Resume:

Who are you? When are you? What were you conscious of a moment ago? This groundbreaking book sees acclaimed psychologist Susan Blackmore combining the latest scientific theories about mind, self, and consciousness with a lifetime’s practice of Zen. Framed by ten critical questions derived from Zen teachings and designed to expand your understanding and experience of consciousness, Ten Zen Questions doesn’t offer final - or easy - answers, but instead provides an inspiring exploration of how intellectual enquiry and meditation can tackle some of today’s greatest scientific mysteries. Dr Susan Blackmore is a writer and broadcaster. She lives in Bristol, UK.