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Vedana (Feeling Tone) Symposium
Dates: Jul 13, 2017 - Jul 16, 2017
Days: Thu - Sun (3 Nights)

Instructor(s): Martine Batchelor

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Mindfulness of the range of feeling tones in human experience, known as vedanā in Pāli and Sanskrit, is an essential practice in the Buddhist meditative tradition and is the focus of the second of the contemplations (anupassanā) outlined in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta. Scientific research into the meaning of vedanā, together with an examination of the practice of mindfulness of vedanā in daily life, could both enhance and significantly contribute to an increased understanding of the relevance of meditation in the contemporary world and its study in scientific contexts. In this symposium, practitioners from a Buddhist or meditative background, as well as scholars and research scientists with an interest in vedanā and mindfulness, will come together to investigate and discuss vedanā. In addition, a small audience of residential and non-residential participants from both Buddhist and scientific backgrounds will have the opportunity to respond to the presentations and offer further reflections.
Akincano Weber will attempt to clarify the notion of adukkhamasukhavedanā (neutral vedanā), and Martine Batchelor will try to explain why she came to see the neutral feeling tone as a restful baseline or homeostatic “returning to the means.” Judson Brewer will look at vedanā from the point of view of his research into addiction. Anurag Gupta will share his work on bias within the context of race, examining the connection between vedanā and the latent likes and dislikes associated with appearance and phenotype. John Peacock will examine the idea that the Buddha directs us to a freedom from reactive patterns based on vedanā and the development of a 'skills' base that allows for the development of character in a more positive and potentially more ethical direction. 

Other speakers include Robert E. Buswell, Paul Fleischman, Anne Klein, Sara Lazar, and Paul Grossman.

Applications to attend the symposium were due by March 15. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by April 1.

  • Martine Batchelor was a Buddhist nun in Korea for ten years. She studied Son Buddhism under the guidance of the late Master Kusan and translated his book 'The Way of Korean Zen'. Following Master Kusan’s death she returned her nun’s vows and left Korea to live in Europe where she also studied insight meditation. She is the author of several books including The Path of Compassion and Women in Korean Zen, and The Spirit of the Buddha. At the moment she is focusing on meditation and compassion in daily life as described in her book Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits. Her latest book is What is this? Ancient questions for modern minds, co-authored with Stephen Batchelor.