The Dhammapada, in its various versions, famously begins with the observation that the mind is foremost, and that suffering and happiness follow from the way our mind is. Subsequent Buddhist traditions retain this emphasis on the importance of the mind, and they invite us to explore how the mind works, how it can be transformed, and how we can realize its ultimate nature. In this study retreat, we will engage with various Buddhist accounts of the mind and its workings along with practices that are meant to reveal the mind’s intricacies and essence. Our exploration will begin with accounts found in the Abhidharma, sometimes called “Buddhist psychology.” Moving on to philosophical perspectives and practices that arise later in Buddhist history, we will see how a deep understanding of the mind itself is said to reveal the ultimate nature of reality. We will ask what it means to say that the mind is “empty, yet luminous,” especially from the perspective of nondual awareness and the central role played by compassion. Our philosophical and experiential inquiry will be aided by examining some suggestive parallels in the cognitive scientific study of consciousness.
The Mind: A Buddhist Exploration
Dates: Sep 15, 2023 - Sep 19, 2023
Days: Friday - Tuesday
Number of Nights: 4 nights
Instructor(s): John Dunne
Covid-19 Safety Protocol:
About the Instructor(s):
John Dunne (PhD 1999, Harvard University) serves on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he holds the Distinguished Chair in Contemplative Humanities at the Center for Healthy Minds. In addition to serving as core faculty for the Center for Healthy Minds, he is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute. John Dunne's work focuses on Buddhist philosophy and contemplative practice, especially in dialog with Cognitive Science and Psychology.