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book announcement

Jud Wolfskill wolfskil at mit.edu
Fri Aug 13 15:31:59 EST 1999

The following is a book which readers of this list might find of
interest.  For more information please visit

Now in Paperback

Zen and the Brain
Toward an Understanding of Meditation and Consciousness
James H. Austin, M.D.

Aldous Huxley called humankind’s basic trend toward spiritual growth the
“perennial philosophy.” In the view of James Austin, the trend implies a
“perennial psychophysiology”--because awakening, or enlightenment,
occurs when the human brain undergoes substantial changes. What are the
peak experiences of enlightenment? How could these states profoundly
enhance, and yet simplify, the workings of the brain? Zen and the Brain
presents the latest evidence.

In this book Zen Buddhism becomes the opening wedge for a wide-ranging
exploration of consciousness. In order to understand which brain
mechanisms produce Zen states, one needs some understanding of the
anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the brain. Austin, both a
neurologist and a Zen practitioner, interweaves the most recent brain
research with the personal narrative of his Zen experiences. The science
is both inclusive and rigorous; the Zen sections are clear and
evocative. Along the way, Austin examines such topics as similar states
in other disciplines and religions, sleep and dreams, mental illness,
consciousness-altering drugs, and the social consequences of the
advanced stage of ongoing enlightenment.

James H. Austin, M.D., is Professor Emeritus of Neurology at the
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He is the author of
Chase, Chance, and Creativity and the author or coauthor of more than
130 publications in the fields of neurochemistry, neuropharmacology, and
clinical neurology.

7 x 10, 896 pp., 18 illus.
paper ISBN 0-262-51109-6

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