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The Philosophy of the Mind

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 10 February 2013

In this special edition of Something Understood, Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, considers what we now know about the nature of the mind and how an understanding of the mind is important in everyday life.

He quotes from the teachings of Buddha and the work of the 11th century poet Milarepa, as well as the words of a Tibetan Prayer by Nagarjuna.

The quest for peace of mind is one of the great challenges of our day. Many of us find it easier to achieve than others, but what do the teachings of those cultures who try to embrace the mind's power have to say about our modern dilemma?

John McCarthy applies the Dalai Lama's thoughts to the western experience with additional readings from the American philosopher Daniel Dennett and the work of the ground-breaking neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran.

The programme was recorded in the town of Leh in the Ladakh region of India.

Produced by Anthony Denselow.

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

Music Played

4 items
  • Image for Unknown

    Unknown Lhasai Bomo

    Performer: Chaksampa

    Renewal: Contemporary Tibetan Folk Songs, Asin, N/A

  • Image for Bill Evans

    Bill Evans Peace Piece

    Performer: Bill Evans

    Everybody Digs Bill Evans, Concord Records, 30182

  • Image for Jonathan Harvey

    Jonathan Harvey Tranquil Abiding

    Performer: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

    Body Mandala, Timepieces, Tranquil Abiding, White As Jasmine ….. Towards a Pure Land, NMC Recordings, NMC 141

  • Image for Tibetan traditional

    Tibetan traditional Gaden Lhagya

    Performer: Nuns from Jangchub Choeling Nunnery, Mudgod.

    Tibet Sacred Voice, Tibet Foundation, TFR99001

  • Readings

    Title: Consciousness Explained.
    Author: Daniel C Dennett
    Publisher: Little Brown
    ISBN-10: 978-0-316-18065-8

    Title: The Dhammapada – The Pairs
    Translated from Pali: Acharya Buddharakkita
    Publisher: Buddhist Publication Scoiety

    Title: How to Meditate
    Author: Kathleen McDonald
    Publisher: Wisdom Publications
    ISBN-10: 86171-009-6

    Title: Drinking in the Mountain Stream – the songs of Milarepa
    Translated by: Lama Kunga Rinpoche & Brian Cutillo
    Publisher: Wisdom Publications
    ISBN-10: 861710630

    Title: The Great Treatise on the stages to the Path of Enlightenment – the Collection of Indicative Verses – The Lam Rim Chen Mo
    Translated by: The Lam Rim translation committee
    Publisher: Snow Lion Publications
    ISBN-10: 55939-152-9


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