Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama

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9780736692328: Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama

Can the worlds of science and philosophy work together to recognise our destructive emotions such as hatred, craving, and delusion? Bringing together ancient Buddhist wisdom and recent breakthroughs in a variety of fields from neuroscience to child development, Daniel Goleman's extraordinary book offers fresh insights into how we can recognise and transform our destructive emotions. Out of a week-long discussion between the Dalai Lama and small group of eminent psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers, Goleman weaves together a compelling narrative account. Where do these destructive emotions (craving, anger and delusion, known in Buddhism as the three poisons) come from? And how can we transform them to prevent them from threatening humanity's collective safety and its future?

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Review:

Destructive Emotions: How Can We Overcome Them? A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama forcefully puts to rest the misconception that the realms of science and spirituality are at odds. In this extraordinary book, Daniel Goleman presents dialogues between the Dalai Lama and a small group of eminent psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers that probe the challenging questions: Can the worlds of science and philosophy work together to recognize destructive emotions such as hatred, craving, and delusion? If so, can they transform those feelings for the ultimate improvement of humanity? As the Dalai Lama explains, "With the ever-growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play in reminding us of our humanity."

The book's subject marks the eighth round in a series of ongoing meetings of the Mind Life Institute. The varied perspectives of science, philosophy, and Eastern and Western thought beautifully illustrate the symbiosis among the views, which are readily accessible despite their complexity. Among the book's many strengths is its organization, which allows readers to enjoy the entire five-day seminar or choose sections that are most relevant to their interests, such as "Cultivating Emotional Balance," "The Neuroscience of Emotion," "Encouraging Compassion," or "The Scientific Study of Consciousness." But the real joy is in gaining an insider's view of these extraordinary minds at work, especially that of the Dalai Lama, whose curiosity, Socratic questioning, and humor ultimately serve as the linchpin for the book's soaring intellectual discussion. --Silvana Tropea

From the Inside Flap:

*Why do seemingly rational, intelligent people commit acts of cruelty and violence?
*What are the root causes of destructive behavior?
*How can we control the emotions that drive these impulses?
*Can we learn to live at peace with ourselves and others?
Imagine sitting with the Dalai Lama in his private meeting room with a small group of world-class scientists and philosophers. The talk is lively and fascinating as these leading minds grapple with age-old questions of compelling contemporary urgency. Daniel Goleman, the internationally bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence, provides the illuminating commentary--and reports on the breakthrough research this historic gathering inspired.
Destructive Emotions
Buddhist philosophy tells us that all personal unhappiness and interpersonal conflict lie in the "three poisons": craving, anger, and delusion. It also provides antidotes of astonishing psychological sophistication--which are now being confirmed by modern neuroscience. With new high-tech devices, scientists can peer inside the brain centers that calm the inner storms of rage and fear. They also can demonstrate that awareness-training strategies such as meditation strengthen emotional stability--and greatly enhance our positive moods.
The distinguished panel members report these recent findings and debate an exhilarating range of other topics: What role do destructive emotions play in human evolution? Are they "hardwired" in our bodies? Are they universal, or does culture determine how we feel? How can we nurture the compassion that is also our birthright? We learn how practices that reduce negativity have also been shown to bolster the immune system.Here, too, is an enlightened proposal for a school-based program of social and emotional learning that can help our children increase self-awareness, manage their anger, and become more empathetic.
Throughout, these provocative ideas are brought to life by the play of personalities,
by the Dalai Lama's probing questions, and by his surprising sense of humor. Although
there are no easy answers, the dialogues, which are part of a series sponsored by the Mind and Life Institute, chart an ultimately hopeful course. They are sure to spark discussion among educators, religious and political leaders, parents--and all people who seek peace for themselves and the world.

"The Mind and Life Institute sponsors cross-cultural dialogues that bring together the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist scholars with Western scientists and philosophers. "Mind and Life VIII, on which this book is based, took place in Dharamsala, India, in March 2000.

"From the Hardcover edition.

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