Thursday, April 25, 2013

Zen Brain - Greed and Generosity: The Neuroscience and Path of Transforming Addiction


From Upaya Zen Center, here is another great series of Zen Brain lectures, featuring many of the usual participants, including Joan Halifax Roshi, Al Kaszniak, Lawrence Barsalou, David Loy, and Do-On Robert Thomas.

This series is focused on Greed and Generosity: The Neuroscience and Path of Transforming Addiction.

Zen Brain - Greed and Generosity: The Neuroscience and Path of Transforming Addiction

Series Description: Buddhism recognizes attachment/desire as one of the three “poisons” or afflictions at the root of suffering. In modern Western culture, a consumer economy and the lure of constant, technology-mediated connection fuel our sense of lack and addictions to such things as shopping and the internet. Zen provides a path of liberation from attachment, aversion, and delusion through practice realization of the interdependent, impermanent nature of life, with no fixed, unchanging self at its core.

Recently, neuroscience has provided insights into the plasticity of reward circuitry and chemistry in the brain, as related to attraction and addiction. In this retreat, a philosopher, a neuroscientist, and a Roshi, all of whom are Zen teachers, will explore the relationship of these new scientific discoveries to Buddhist psychology, Zen practice and the challenges of living in a consumerist and technology-driven culture.

Joan Halifax & Al Kaszniak: 04-12-2013: ZEN BRAIN: Greed and Generosity – The Neuroscience and Path of Transforming Addiction (Part 1)


Episode Description: In this, the opening session of Zen Brain on Greed and Generosity, Roshi Joan starts by offering an overview of the retreat and introduces the members of the panel. Dr. Kaszniak then offers his presentation titled “Addiction and craving: Neuroscientific and Contemplative Clinical Science Perspectives.”

BIO: Joan Halifax Roshi is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and author. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Zen Center, a Buddhist monastery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She received her Ph.D in medical anthropology in 1973. She has lectured on the subject of death and dying at many academic institutions, including Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Medical School, Georgetown Medical School, University of Virginia Medical School, Duke University Medical School, University of Connecticut Medical School, among many others. She received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Visual Anthropology, and was an Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethnobotany at Harvard University. From 1972-1975, she worked with psychiatrist Stanislav Grof at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center on pioneering work with dying cancer patients, using LSD as an adjunct to psychotherapy. After the LSD project, she has continued to work with dying people and their families and to teach health care professionals as well as lay individuals on compassionate care of the dying. She is Director of the Project on Being with Dying and Founder and Director of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners. For the past twenty-five years, she has been active in environmental work. She studied for a decade with Zen Teacher Seung Sahn and was a teacher in the Kwan Um Zen School. She received the Lamp Transmission from Thich Nhat Hanh, and was given Inka by Roshi Bernie Glassman. A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order, her work and practice for more than three decades has focused on applied Buddhism. Her books include: The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof); Shamanic Voices; Shaman: The Wounded Healer; The Fruitful Darkness; Simplicity in the Complex: A Buddhist Life in America; Being with Dying; and Wisdom Beyond Wisdom (with Kazuaki Tanashashi).

Al Kaszniak received his Ph.D. in clinical and developmental psychology from the University of Illinois in 1976, and completed an internship in clinical neuropsychology at Rush Medical Center in Chicago. He is currently Director of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium Education Core, and a professor in the departments of psychology, neurology, and psychiatry at The University of Arizona (UA. He formerly served as Head of the Psychology Department, and as Director of the UA Center for Consciousness Studies. Al also presently serves as Chief Academic Officer for the Mind and Life Institute, an organization that facilitates collaborative scientific research on contemplative practices and traditions. He is the co-author or editor of seven books, including the three-volume Toward a Science of Consciousness (MIT Press), and Emotions, Qualia, and Consciousness (World Scientific). His research, published in over 150 journal articles and scholarly book chapters, has been supported by grants from the U.S. National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Mental Health, and National Science Foundation, as well as several private foundations. His work has focused on the neuropsychology of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related neurological disorders, consciousness, memory self-monitoring, emotion, and the psychophysiology of long-term and short-term meditation. Al has served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, and has been an advisor to the National Institutes of Health and other governmental agencies. He is a Past-President of the Section on Clinical Geropsychology and fellow of the American Psychological Association and a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. In addition to his academic and administrative roles, he is a lineage holder and teacher (Sensei) in the Soto tradition of Zen Buddhism.

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