Did Buddha’s teachings survive and thrive because he was more attractive or charismatic than most, or because he was a great teacher and a tireless advocate of the poor? Or – and here’s the core question I’ll explore in detail – was it because he was an enlightened being with profound insights into the nature of Reality, and because he possessed supernormal abilities? We might ask the same questions about Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, Milarepa, or a host of other historically prominent figures associated with special illumination, wisdom, or grace. Did these people just sport great tans and know how to work a crowd, or did they understand something genuinely deep about the human condition, about consciousness, and about our capacities, that are not yet within the purview of science?
Asking such questions about revered religious icons is asking for trouble, so we may consider a more contemporary figure. The Dalai Lama regularly hosts discussions between scientists and Buddhist scholars as part of an ongoing series of dialogs sponsored by the Mind and Life Institute. Do the scientists who compete for a coveted slot at one of those celebrated meetings secretly believe that the Dalai Lama is a backwards country bumpkin, and they’re just humoring him long enough to get their photo taken with a famous Nobel Laureate so they can post it on their Facebook page? Or does the Dalai Lama know something that science ignores publicly but is fascinated by privately?
This presentation will offer answers to these questions based not on opinion, but on analysis of decades of experimental data collected in dozens of laboratories around the world,and regularly published in scientific journals.
DEAN RADIN, PH.D
Senior Scientist at the IONS
Senior Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Psychology at Sonoma State University. His original career track as a concert violinist shifted into science after earning a BSEE degree in electrical engineering, magna cum laude with honors in physics, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and then an MS in electrical engineering and a PhD in psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. For a decade he worked on advanced telecommunications R&D at AT&T Bell Laboratories and GTE Laboratories. For over two decades he has been engaged in consciousness research. Before joining the research staff at IONS in 2001, he held appointments at Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, University of Nevada, and several Silicon Valley think-tanks, including Interval Research Corporation and SRI International, where he worked on a classified program investigating psychic phenomena for the US government.