Buddha’s Brain

Amazon: “Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius, a neuropsychologist and a neurologist and both practicing Buddhists, show us just how the brain programs us to experience the world a certain way by combining information from the external world with information held in neural pathways within the brain. These pathways operate in the background of our awareness, influencing our conscious mental activity.”

This book was a bit of a struggle for me so the following notes are intended for my own reference and make little sense outside the context of the book.

The self is like someone running behind a parade that is already well under way, continually calling out: “See what I created!” (pg 212)

In the brain, every manifestation of self is impermanent. The self is continually constructed, deconstructed, and constructed again. (pg 212)

We experience “now” not as a thin sliver of time in which each snapshot of experience appears sharply and ends abruptly, but as a moving interval roughly 1-3 seconds long that blurs and fades at each end. (pg 213)

At any moment, the parts of the self that are present depend on many factors, including genetic heritage, personal history, temperament, and situations. In particular, self depends on a lot of feeling tone of experience. When the feeling tone is neutral, the self tends to fade into the background. But as soon as something distinctly pleasant or unpleasant appears, the self quickly mobilizes. The self organizes around strong desires. Which comes first: Do “I” form a desire? Or does desire from and “I?” (pg 213)

The self has no inherent, unconditional, absolute existence apart from the network of causes it arises from, in, and as. (pg 213)

The self is truly a fictional character. (pg 214)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *