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Nirvana and Neuroscience: The self-liberating brain

Chapter from The Buddha’s Way: The Confluence of Buddhist Thought, Contemporary Psychology and Consciousness Studies in the Post-Modern Age (2006). 

As I write, thousands of athletes are converging on the city of Athens for the 2004 Olympic Games. They have all spent countless hours exploring, in both theory and practice, what it is to run, jump and throw, and what it takes to excel at their athletic discipline. Many of them will also know a good deal about when these activities go wrong: when swinging becomes falling, running becomes hobbling, and control crumbles into clumsiness. Indeed, you could argue that excellence at running is not possible, these days, without the best understanding of what running itself involves, and how it breaks down – as well as how it can be improved. Buddhism says: not everyone can win a gold medal at the 1500 metres, but all of us have the potential to be excellent at life.

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