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Mind and Life Institute

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The Mind and Life Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the relationship of science and Buddhism as methodologies in understanding the nature of reality.

The institute has affiliates including notable scientists, and Buddhist practitioners, the most notable of which is Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.


The 14th Dalai Lama has been interested in science since childhood. In 1973, he visited the astrophysics laboratory of Cambridge University.

Ten years later, he participated in the conference Alpbach Symposia on Consciousness – where he met Francisco J. Varela.

They had several discussions later on. At the time of a visit of the Dalai Lama in France, he proposed to consecrate a week to him in Dharamsala in north India.

Varela met R. Adam Engle, who also wished exactly such an exchange.

This was the origin of the first week of discussions between scientists and the Dalai Lama.

Mind and Life program was initiated 1985 by Adam Engle and Francisco Varela to foster a dialogue between Buddhist scholars and Western scientists.

A the time of the 3rd lecture The Mind and Life Institute was formally founded, in 1990.

Board of directors

*R. Adam Engle (Chairman and Co-Founder)

Mind and Life Conferences

1987 : Mind and Life I

Dialogues between Buddhism & the Cognitive Sciences Dharamsala, India

1989 : Mind and Life II

Dialogues between Buddhism & the Neurosciences Newport Beach, California, USA

  • Participants : Tenzin Gyatso, Patricia Smith Churchland, Antonio R. Damasio, J. Allan Hobson, Lewis L. Judd and Larry R. Squire. Interprets: Thubten Jinpa and B. Alan Wallace

1990 : Mind and Life III

Emotions & Health Dharamsala, India

1992 : Mind and Life IV

Sleeping, Dreaming, & Dying Dharamsala, India

1995 : Mind and Life V

Altruism, Ethics, & Compassion Dharamsala, India

1997 : Mind and Life VI

The New Physics & Cosmology Dharamsala, India

1998 : Mind and Life VII

Epistemological Questions in Quantum Physics and Eastern Contemplative Sciences Innsbruck, Austria

2000 : Mind and Life VIII

Destructive Emotions Dharamsala, India

2001 : Mind and Life IX

Transformations of Mind, Brain & Emotion Madison, Wisconsin, USA

2002 : Mind and Life X

The Nature of Matter, The Nature of Life Dharamsala, India

2003 : Mind and Life XI

Investigating the Mind Cambridge, MA, USA

2004 : Mind and Life XII

Neuroplasticity: The Neuronal Substrates of Learning and Transformation Dharamsala, India

2005 : Mind and Life XIII

The Science and Clinical Applications of Meditation Washington DC, USA

2007 : Mind and Life XIV

A Dialogue on The Universe in a Single Atom Dharamsala, India

Video recording available here:

2007 : Mind and Life XV

Mindfulness, Compassion, and the Treatment of Depression October 20, 2007 — Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

2009 : Mind and Life XVIII

Attention, Memory and the Mind: A Synergy of Psychological, Neuroscientific, and Contemplative Perspectives with His Holiness The Dalai Lama April 6–10, 2009 — Dharamsala, India

Video recording available here:

2009 : Mind and Life XIX

Educating World Citizens for the 21st Century: Educators, Scientists and Contemplatives Dialogue on Cultivating a Healthy Mind, Brain and Heart October 8–9, 2009 — Washington D.C., USA

  • Participants: Tenzin Gyatso, Marian Wright Edelman, Daniel Goleman, Richard Davidson, Linda Lantieri, Peter L. Benson, Martin Brokenleg, Ronald E. Dahl, Linda Darling-Hammond, Jacquelynne S. Eccles, Nancy Eisenberg, R. Adam Engle, Mark Greenberg, Joan Halifax, Takao Hensch, Thupten Jinpa, Anne C. Klein, Kathleen McCartney, Matthieu Ricard, Lee Shulman.

2010 : Mind and Life XX

Altruism and Compassion in Economic Systems: Dialogue between Economics, Neuroscience and Contemplative Sciences April 9–11, 2010 — Zurich, Switzerland.


Wikipedia:Mind and Life Institute