blog

An event not to miss: the first Mind and Life European Symposium in Berlin on 10-13 October 2013

By Matthieu Ricard on August 16, 2013

Since 2012, the Mind and Life Institute has created a European branch, based in Zurich. An advisory committee that includes scientists, contemplatives, philosophers and advisors, has met on several occasions in Paris and Berlin. Among the various initiatives that have been launched is a major European symposium, which will take place in Berlin from 10-13 October 2013.

Participants from neurosciences, clinical science, education, philosophy, contemplative studies, economics and practitioners will present, discuss, and interact around the topic of ‟Personal and Societal Change from the Contemplative Perspective”. The symposium will be a unique opportunity to learn and experience cutting-edge contemplative science, and to network with like-minded researchers from complementary disciplines.

Speakers will include world renowned experts such as Wolf Singer, Tania Singer, Otto Scharmer, Mark Williams, Michel Bitbol, Dennis Snower, Matthieu Ricard and many more.

You can find all the necessary information and details, and you can register yourself by clicking on following link: www.europeansymposium.org. Seats are still available for those who are not yet registered.

The Mind and Life Institute now has 25 years of activities since it was founded by Chilean-born neuroscientist and thinker Francisco Varela and American lawyer Adam Engle. Over the years, the Mind and Life Institute has organized remarkable meetings between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and some of the world's leading scientists. During these meetings they have engaged in two- to five-day long dialogues on major issues pertaining to modern science and Buddhist science. Topics have included the nature of reality, neuroplasticity of the brain, the nature of consciousness, training of the mind through contemplative practices, education, environment and ethics.

These discussions have led to an ever increasing number of research projects on mind training and meditation in many laboratories throughout the world, including those of Richard Davidson and Antoine Lutz in Madison, Wisconsin; of Paul Ekman in San Francisco; of Cliff Saron at U.C. Davies; and of Tania Singer at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, to name but a few.

Contemporary luminaries have been an integral part of the Mind and Life Institute for many years: Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence; Jon Kabat-Zinn, who first launched the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction program 30 years ago, as well as Joan Halifax, who started the Being with Dying Program and Upaya, and many other important thinkers.

I am fortunate to have been involved with the Mind and Life since 2000, when the groundbreaking meeting on ‟Dealing with Destructive Emotions” was held at His Holiness the Dalai Lama's residence in Dharamsala, India. Since then, as a meditative subject, I have spent dozens of hours in fMRI scanners, at the labs of Richie Davidson, Antoine Lutz, and Tania Singer, and have become a close friend and humble collaborator of many of the eminent scientists who participate in Mind and Life events.

After Adam Engle retired in 2013, physicist Arthur Zajonc became the President of the Institute, while Diego Hangartner heads the European branch.

The Dalai Lama often describes Buddhism as being, above all, a science of the mind. One of the great tragedies of our time is that we significantly underestimate our capacity for change. But the collaborative research catalyzed by the Mind and Life Institute has shown that it is indeed possible to transform ourselves for the betterment of our own lives and for society, by cultivating wholesome states of mind, thought after thought, day after day, year after year.