Saturday, September 25, 2010
Books of Interest: Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius, "Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom"
I have just finished this book and highly recommend it to any of you who have a scientific/materialist leaning, i.e., those of you who find persuasive scientific and material explanations of phenomena. While the authors are fundamentally Buddhist, the book is not overtly religious. Rather, they write from a practical, problem-solving perspective: how to manage stress and existential suffering. They address the convergence of neuroscience with psychology and philosophical teachings in straightforward, not-too-technical terms that makes it readily accessible. And it includes both an explanation of how our practice can change our minds and brains and a description of practices. The practices are more representative of Vajrayana and Theravadan teachings than Zen in the specificity of the instruction, but they are not experientially unfamiliar to any serious Zen practitioner. I have been following Hanson's "Wise Brain" website--www.wisebrain.org--for several years. I have found his site a useful resource for material that almost any audience can appreciate because Buddhist wisdom practices are explained in straightforward, largely non-religious terms.