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Zen and the Brain
Rating :
Author(s) :
James H. Austin
Pages :
Pub Date :
1998, 2000
Edition(s) at Erowid :
Publisher :
MIT Press
This book uses Zen Buddhism as the opening wedge for an extraordinarily wide-ranging exploration of consciousness. In order to understand the brain mechanisms that produce Zen states, one needs some understanding of the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the brain. Austin, a neuroscientist and Zen practitioner, interweaves his teachings of the brain with his teachings/personal narrative of Zen. The science, which contains the latest relevant developments in brain research, is both inclsive and rigorous; the Zen sections are clear and evocative. Along the way, Austin covers such topics as similar states in other disciplines and religions, sleep and dreams, mental illness, consciousness-altering drugs, and the social consequences of advanced stages of enlightenment.

"This is a book written with passion and seriousness."
-- Psychoanalytic Books

"Austin has done a beautiful job integrating neurology and mystical states."
-- Times Literary Supplement

"... richly textured, allusive... persuasive, fascinating prose."
-- David V. Feldman, Ph.D.
, Choice

"This new book is surely THE most important Zen book of the decade..."
-- Zen Unbound

"Zen and the Brain is well worth reading by those interested in cognitive brain function, especially the mechanisms of consciousness. However it is far from a dry scientific text and would be enjoyable to someone more interested in the philosophical implications."
-- Journal of the American Medical Association

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