Thursday, June 25, 2009

Selfless Insight: Zen and the Meditative Transformations of Consciousness
by James Austin, M.D.
The MIT Press
342 pages with notes

Of the various books that explore relationships between western science and eastern meditation, or Buddhism in particular, James Austin's are among the most specifically technical. In large part, this book follows new findings in brain research conducted since his earlier well-known study, Zen and the Brain, and uses them to further the evolving study known as comtemplative neuroscience.

Austin explores such issues as attention, insight, the self, emotional maturity and wisdom, in the light of brain science and in the context of the practices and history of Zen. He also attempts to ask questions and make his points with broader contemporary cultural associations, but readers probably need an abiding interest in the physical workings of the brain to follow his arguments.

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