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Destructive Emotions

How Can We Overcome Them? A Scientific Dialogue
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Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Bantam
 | 
March, 2004
ISBN:
9780553381054
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Banyen's Description: 

In this book, the author of Emotional Intelligence offers readers a front-row seat at another groundbreaking meeting between the Dalai Lama and a small group of world class scientists and philosophers as they focus together on the disturbing, the distressing, and the dangerous in human nature. “We needed not just the right range of expertise at the table, but people who would also raise compelling questions, engage in exploring answers, and be open to examining hidden assumptions that might be limiting their own thinking. Both sides in this dialogue would come as learners as well as preceptors. The Dalai Lama, as always, would be eager to hear the most recent scientific findings. But the scientists themselves would be exposed to an alternative paradigm on the mind—the insights of Buddhist thought, which has explored the inner world for millennia with an extraordinary rigor.”

Goleman tells the story well, conveying this bracing and probing intellectual banquet with dedication. Among the other contributors are Richard Davidson (neuroscience, psychiatry), Paul Ekman (psychology), Owen Flanagan (philosophy), Mark Greenberg (human development), Matthew Ricard (Buddhist monk), Ven. Ajahn Kusalacitto (Buddhist monk), Jeanne Tsai (psychology), Francisco Varela (cognitive epistemology), and B. Alan Wallace (philosophy, Buddhist scholar). As the Dalai Lama says in his foreword, “I invite readers of this book to share in our explorations of the causes and cures for destructive emotions, and to reflect on the many questions raised that have compelling importance for us all. I hope you will find this encounter between science and Buddhism as stimulating as I did.”

We explored how destructive emotions eat away at the human mind and heart and what we might do to counter this dangerous streak in our collective nature… Throughout the dialogue the Dalai Lama, that beacon of peace in troubled times, had a strong effect on us all. Through his quiet influence, what began as a purely intellectual inquiry became a shared personal quest for positive antidotes to destructive emotions.

Destructive Emotions is the latest volume in a series from the Mind and Life Institute that also includes Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying and Healing Emotions.

Publisher’s Description: 

*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 commentaryand 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 stabilityand 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 Lamas 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, parentsand 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.Best-selling author Daniel Goleman documents a collaboration between the Dalai Lama and a group of scientists and philosophers focused on understanding and countering negative emotions. He reports on breakthrough experiments that reveal the actual effects of meditation and compasson, educational programs that reduce anger and stress and increase immunity, and more. Throughout, the Dalai Lama’s surprising sense of humor in the face of Tibet’s travail demonstrates the hope of both peace within and peace in the world. Now in paper!

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