An fMRI Study of Acupuncture

First, let's be clear about what usually happens when a therapist inserts the thin needle into a relevant acupuncture site. The subject usually develops the so-called deqi sensation. Included in this sensation is a mixture of numbness, tingling, fullness, and a dull ache. It begins at the acupuncture site. Then, when the needle is manipulated, the deqi sensation spreads some distance away. Eleven subjects did experience this deqi sensation after the needle was inserted (into the so-called L1 4...

Breathing In Breathing

Tokyo, Igaku Shoin, 1974, 69. Figures 68 a-c, on pages 68-69, depict the thoracic and abdominal breathing movements of a Zen monk who had practiced for 22 years. Before the period of meditation begins, his abdomen expands slightly before his thorax. During meditation, respirations slow from 17 to 4 a minute. Again, on the in-breath his abdomen expands just before his thorax. As meditation ends, the respiratory rate rebounds to 21 a minute. Future research...

A PET Study of Chronic Depersonalization Disorder

During genuine states of acute depersonalization, subjects lose their highly subjective personal sense of having a private, self-referent, affective center. Suddenly, much of the vibrant quality of their personality seems to have dropped out from the inside portion of their previous self other boundary. Chronic depersonalization is different. One might be (mis)led to think that patients who had been given the diagnosis of chronic depersonalization disorder would therefore show chronically...

Attributing Different Emotions to Various Brain Regions

Emotions as natural kinds within in mammalian brain. In Handbook of Emotions, eds., M. Lewis and J. Haviland-Jones. New York, Guilford Press 2000,137-156. 2. K. Heilman. The neurobiology of emotional experience. Journal of Neuropsychiatry 1997 9 439-448. 3. J. Panksepp. The periconscious substrates of consciousness Affective states and the evolutionary origins of the self. Journal ofConsciousness Studies 1998 5 566-582. 4. M. Bennett and P. Hacker. Emotion and cortical-subcortical...

Neurochemical Sequelae of Nitric Oxide Their Different Time Relationships

It was first thought that NO' stimulated only one major metabolic target. This target was inside certain adjacent cells. It was presumed to be a very different enzyme, the soluble enzyme that makes cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). Thus, when NO' increased, the net result would be to raise the levels of cGMP in other cells close by. This NO'-cGMP system opens up intriguing avenues through which the brain could modify its old behavior patterns. Of obvious interest is the striatum. Why...

Self Other Frames of Reference Laboratory Correlates

Herein are demanded the eye and the nerve. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), Walden The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained Is thy psychic self a mere abstraction A disembodied figment of thine imagination Not if you believe some hard data turning up consistently in different laboratories. One early finding was especially intriguing our brain metabolism stays unusually high, even when we are passive and feel completely at rest.1 Why...

Source Notes

I wish to express my appreciation to the following authors, their copyright owners, and their publications for permission to reprint excerpts from their copyrighted works, as indicated here and so specified further in the reference pages Vernon D. Rowe, for his poem MRI of a Poet's Brain,'' adapted from Sea Creatures and Other Poems, Overland Park, KS, 1995, 28. The Dana Press, 745 Fifth Avenue, Suite 900, New York, NY, for permission to reprint figures 2, 3, and 8, from ''Your Self, Your...

Born Again Hippocampus

Major religious transformations in every culture are said to leave the person feeling born again.'' It used to be believed that nerve cells could not regenerate. We now know that nerve cells can be formed anew in the dentate gyrus, even in older human beings.17 Relatively few new nerve cells are produced. No one has yet proved that they insert themselves into the normal functions of those several hippocampal cells whose synaptic sequences we described earlier in this chapter. If we assume that...

Brief Outline of Zen History

With its tolerance, its principle of nonviolence, its universal compassion extended to all living creatures, its high morality and humanity, Buddhism had and still has a great message for the world. Our narrative might begin two and half millennia ago. Near the borders of present-day Nepal, young Siddhartha (563-483 b.c.e.) first saw life's harsh realities a sick man, an old man, and a dead man. Deeply shaken, he later set out, at age 29, on the quest to find meaning in life. Others shared his...

Caveat about Locating Higher Functions Only in the Cerebral Cortex

Later, in chapter 94, we describe two prototype visual pathways. Each passes through the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus on its way back to the primary visual cortex. One (cone) path conveys color vision. While still discussing the thalamus, it is instructive to consider briefly an innate limitation of this path where it surfaces in its most color-sensitive region farther forward in the cortex. This area centers on the fusiform gyrus. It occupies the undersurface of the...

Caveat about the Word Magnet

It is not to be confused with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TCMS). In this technique, a coil placed over part of the scalp induces major changes in the local magnetic field that go on to stimulate superficial layers of the underlying brain. The result is a disorganized mixture of excitatory and inhibitory responses from the cortex beneath. In recent years, TCMS has been used as a research tool4 and as a mode of treatment for depression.5

Achronia A Shoreless Ocean

Yet, during kensho, this experiant had no immediate sense of being disadvantaged. Time was not ''lost,'' ''lacking,'' or ''subtracted.'' Instead, the impression was of being beyond (any conceivable personal notion or conventional constructs of) time. No concept of time existed. Neither this word nor this writer existed. To consider what this really means, let us return briefly to the epigraph at the beginning of this chapter. It suggests how some ancients may have felt when faced with the...

Acknowledgments

Professor Nick Gier kindly invited me to give several lectures in his course on Buddhism. Fortunately, this led to an invitation to teach an entire course entitled Zen and the Brain,'' and to my becoming formally affiliated with the University of Idaho. I am most grateful to him and to the Department of Philosophy for the opportunity this provided to access the library and interlibrary loan facilities of the university. I also thank the many editors and program directors, now too numerous to...

Age Related and Seasonal Related Changes

The hypothalamus varies its neuroendocrine repertoire. Its output depends on what kinds of messages it receives from the rest of the brain and body. More nerve cells in the periventricular nucleus express CRF in people over the age of 40 years, and more cells can also express vasopressin with advancing age.7 In people under the age of 50, peaks occur in the number of vasopressin cells in the supra-chiasmatic nucleus both in the spring and fall. Chapter 34 considers how this vas-opressin may be...

Altered Temporality

Temporality refers to our normal sense of time. Altered is a useful way to convey what can happen to a person's sense of time on drugs (see chapter 71). Shanon's comments on this phenomenon are based on his having ingested an Amazonian brew called ayahuasca about 130 times.''8 Perhaps the main effect of what he refers to as powerful degrees of ayahuasca intoxication is the state experienced ''as being outside of time.'' To Shanon, his discovery that time could be so dissolved was...

Category I Phase B Full Reflective Appreciation This Prior Oneness Had Just Reconciled All Dualities

When that initial phase (phase A) of total unification flashed in, it completely dominated the mental field. Not only was no personal self inside, none of that person's previous criteria for comparison existed. Hence, at that instant, in no way could any witnessing person then appreciate this first extraordinary phase for its unique qualities. It simply registered as a fact and was fully accepted as a fact. Then, slightly later, after an indefinable interval, an elementary sense of i began to...

Cautionary Tales

Most paeans to psychedelics were written by people outside the health professions who had not only ''used'' them but then survived.9 Do their tales tell the whole story of their survival Not often enough in ways that reach the printed page. Consider Rick Doblin's follow-up critique, published almost three decades after Pahnke's classic experiment in 1962 of twenty Christian theological students Z 436 438 . Doblin points to a very significant omission in the original report. ''Pahnke...

Quest for No Answers Koan Huatou Jakugo Mondo

In On Zen Practice. Body, Breath, Mind, eds. T. Maezumi and B. Glassman (rev. W. Nakao and J. Buksbazen). Boston, Wisdom, 2002, 83-87. 2. J. Snelling. The Buddhist Handbook. Rochester, VT, Inner Traditions, 1991,14. 3. Nagarjuna was not only a legendary philosopher and a Buddhist but he took an active role in practical affairs during his tenure as a court counselor in the south of India. 4. T. Cleary. Classics of Buddhism and Zen, vol. 4. Boston, Shambhala,...

The Roshi

New York, Pocket Books, 1967, 905. 2. M. Caplan. Do You Need a Guru Understanding the Student-Teacher Relationship in an Era of False Prophets. London, Thorsons, 2002. 3. Adapted from Koji Hoashi's translation of one chapter in Nanrei Kobori, In the Spring I Come Back to My True Home in Japanese . Kyoto, Institute for Zen Culture, c. 1996. In his 20s, Shonen-Roshi was a student of Professor Ketaro Nishida (1870-1945) at Kyoto University. He then taught Japanese...

Empathies Mirror Neurons and Prolonged Affirmative Attitudes

Too early for a neuropsychology of empathy. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2002 25 32-33. 2. S. Preston and F. de Waal. Empathy Its ultimate and proximate bases. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2002 25 1-20. Readers interested in empathy are referred both to the pages of this target article and to the next 51 pages. They include an open peer commentary, the authors' response, and 12 final pages of references. 3. G. Rizzolatti and L. Craighero. The mirror-neuron system. Annual Reviews in...

Some ABCs of the IMeMine

Consider the pale literary definitions of these three terms. I serves as a pronoun when it refers to the person who is speaking or writing. I is a noun when it refers to someone who is aware of possessing a personal individual identity, a self. Me, on the other hand remains a pronoun, serving as the objective case of I. Mine is a personal pronoun indicating possession. 2. D. Galin. The concepts of self, person, and I. In Buddhism and Science. Breaking New Ground, ed. B. Wallace. New York,...

Triggers

Daito and Early Japanese Zen. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1992, 1282-1338. 2. L. Williams, M. Brammer, D. Skerrett, et al. The Neural correlates of orienting An integration of fMRI and skin conductance orienting. NeuroReport 2000 11 3011-3015. 3. E. Kirino, A. Belger, P. Goldman-Rakic, et al. Prefrontal activation evoked by infrequent target and novel stimuli in a visual target detection task An event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Journal...

Constructing Our Self Inside and Outwardly

Ergis, et al. Selective inability to point to extrapersonal targets after left posterior parietal lesions An objectivization disorder Neurocase 1997 3 31-39. Patient 8 was an intelligent 58-year-old, right-handed man who had no right arm or leg weakness. The structural MRI scan showed that his underlying white matter was also infarcted. His self-referent symptoms resolved rapidly. This is a point in favor of their representing a disinhibitory phenomenon...

Correlations and Interpretations of the Increased fMRI Signals

Associations are not proofs. Only many years of testing can establish firm cause-and-effect relationships. Meanwhile, their fMRI data invited the authors to venture a number of intriguing hypotheses. As chapter 28 notes, the middle insula has also been linked with active responses to caressing types of skin-to-skin contact. Activations in the vast anterior cingulate region have been linked with a variety of roles in emotive processing (see chapter 26). The lateral Some...

Cosmic Consciousness

This Edward Carpenter defined ''cosmic consciousness'' in 1892. He regarded it then as a ''universal consciousness.'' It resembled, in those Hindu traditions he was aware of, the blissful deepest knowing of the all-pervading Reality.11 His writings suggest that he sometimes used the term to refer to a state, and at other times to an ongoing attitudinal approach. In 1894, Carpenter also spoke to some other key issues. We used the word ''Oneness'' to refer to their general qualities in chapters...

Delayed Toxic and Metabolic Effects of Nitric Oxide

Glutamate has long been known to have undesirable excitotoxic effects (see chapter 31) Z 654-656 . Many are now attributable to the way glutamate increases the release of NO'. NO' goes on to damage DNA, lipids, RNA, and proteins through the basic, nonenzymic chemical reactions just described. These preliminary steps require both the superoxide anion and NO' in order to yield the toxic peroxynitrite molecule.26 NO' could participate in etching of the brain. Item The ACH nerve cells in the...

Different Frontal Lobe Roles in Shifting Mental Sets

Suppose you need to solve a tough problem. Creative problem solving requires you not only to generate several hypotheses but also to discriminate among them. Moreover, you must also drop your prior mental set of assumptions, shift decisively into one correct configuration, and hold onto it.6 In most current neuroimaging studies, researchers pose mental tasks for their subjects to solve. The ordinary kinds of matching problems are among such tasks. These require the subjects to develop modes of...

Do these observations have implications for contemporary Zen teachers and for those in other meditative traditions

It depends on how open-minded they are and how informed they wish to be. Some may benefit from knowing how quickly raw, direct visual illusions register in the brain, long before writers or artists take up pen or brush to express their more refined, elaborate, allusive, products of literary and artistic imagination. During these milliseconds, illusions in themselves are neither products of discursive thought, nor psychological symbols, nor do they have any spiritual significance. They are...

EEG Responses to Novel Auditory Stimuli

A previous study of hippocampal slices (in vitro) found that bursts of gamma oscillations were followed by slower beta wave oscillations. In the present EEG study of ten normal human subjects, loud, novel auditory stimuli also prompted a gamma-to-beta transition.4 Both gamma and beta oscillations habituated markedly after the initial response (see chapter 16). It was the slower beta-1 activity at 12 to 20 cps that trailed the gamma, not the faster beta-2 frequency of 20 to 30 cps. The earliest...

Eisai 114112151

This is the second book in a quest for the inconceivable. Its author has been attempting to repair his ignorance in three major areas (1) Zen What is it (2) The human brain How does it actually function (3) Meditation and enlightened states What really goes on And there is a fourth area we still need to know more about How has the brain been transformed in the rare sage who has entered the late stage of ongoing enlightened traits Most chapters in this book are expressed as essays, yet some...

Emptiness

A questioner asked ''Lord, to what extent is the world called empty '' The Buddha replied ''Because it is empty of self and what belongs to self.''1 Questioner ''And what is the freedom of mind that is empty '' The Buddha replied ''To be empty of self, or of what belongs to self means being empty of passion, aversion, and confusion.'' When the Buddha awakened and realized emptiness, he understood that his prior way of seeing the world had been deluded. His own self-constructed ridgepole of...

Hearing the Dawn

As Bassui noted, sometimes when you hear a particular word or phrase a so-called turning phrase you find that your act of seeing then takes on remarkable new dimensions. Said he, on this subject of the turning phrase, ''There are those who have had a great awakening that is, their eyes have been opened to Buddha knowledge after hearing one word.''8 Triggers strike unpredictably. When you are not expecting it, hearing can serve as the avenue of access to...

Isnt this an unorthodox distinction

But this is a basic biological distinction. It is grounded in immediate perceptual experience, not on a literary concept that takes time to think about and is culture-bound. The distinction hinges on early and late physiological events. Event-related-potential studies show that they are separated by many milliseconds. For example, impulses coding for perceptual illusions register first in the back of the brain. Only milliseconds later do such messages spread to networks farther forward....

List of Figures

Figure 1 An outline of the Path of Zen 8 Figure 2 The trialities 22 Figure 3 The left cerebral hemisphere 74 Figure 4 The right cerebral hemisphere, viewed from its inner surface 74 Figure 5 Stress responses within the brain 115 Figure 6 Neural correlates of reduced adult fearfulness a response to early, laid-back nurturing 118 Figure 7 Brodmann's mapping by the numbers 147 Figure 9 The ordinary mental field of the physical self 317 Figure 10 The mental field of internal absorption with sensate...

Medial and Posterior Hypothalamus

The medial hypothalamic nuclei are also essential for our innate reproductive, defensive, and ingestive behaviors5 (see chapter 34). The paired mammillary nuclei protrude from the back of the hypothalamus, cleaved along the midline. Their limbic messages relay quickly up to the anterior thalamic nucleus and down to the midbrain. In cells of their medial subdivision, angular motions of the head are linked with theta rhythms. Other directional cells reside in the lateral mammillary nucleus (as...

Meditation and the Delayed Promotion of Sleep

For over a decade, I have been consistently aware of another effect of meditation its delayed sleep-promoting effects following one session of weekly formal, eyes-open meditation in the zendo (from 7 00 to 7 25 p.m., and from 7 30 to 7 55 p.m., with kinhin intervening). Later that night, after retiring at the usual time (10 0010 30 p.m.), I sleep more soundly and awaken at the usual hour (6 30 a.m.) with a greater sense of mental clarity than on any of the other 6 days of the week. It remains...

Migraine in Physicians

Here I was that morning, having been board-certified 5 years earlier as a specialist in neurology, still not yet aware that a person could develop only a visual aura, and not progress beyond that to the other classic symptoms of migraine To Walter Alvarez at the Mayo Clinic, this fact was already well known. He had estimated that over 12 of his male migraine patients did not progress to the next headache phase (his survey included some 618 persons who had this same kind of visual scotomata).5...

Mind Machines Caveats and Controversy

Equipment is commercially available that delivers mild electrical stimuli or visual-auditory stimuli to the brain. The public has access to various kinds of this equipment and has already put some of it to so-called recreational use. Suggestibility plays an important role in the subjective results. For this reason, the authors of a 1998 report found that a sham period of application was a significant advantage when they tested the presumed effects that two such mind machines had on the...

Multiple Meanings of Taste

In the previous chapter we observed that metaphors take off around their edges and become hard to pin down. Taste is another avenue that brings sensory data into the brain. As these messages move forward, they, too, soon attach to words that become literary abstractions. Yet, in those early milliseconds of intimate sensory experience, taste remains our primordial, special, gustatory sense. To taste is to know, deeply, directly, viscerally. Taste impulses first enter low in the brainstem, then...

Other Links between the Moon and Enlightenment in the Old Zen Literature

Nothing ever becomes real 'til it is experienced even a proverb is no proverb to you 'til your life has illustrated it. Moon talk by a poet who has not been in the moon is likely to be dull. The following samples illustrate additional ways that moon themes have entered into Zen literature for many centuries. In late fifteenth-century Japan several collections of Chinese classical sayings were gathered together representing the Tang and Sung dynasties. These collections would later grow to...

Pain Associated with Meditation

Meditators suffer many aching leg and back pains when they sit for long periods during retreats. Does this discomfort during zazen stimulate responses from these same small peripheral sensory fibers Could this lead to the subsequent release of relevant neuromessengers This plausible working hypothesis awaits a formal study. Meanwhile, it is very important to appreciate that certain time relationships are involved. The analgesic effects of acupuncture are delayed. Only after 20 to 30 minutes...

Parallel Universes Reconciled

At present, you and I are still trapped inside our usual self other mode. As long as we are, we cannot step out of our own skins and deeply realize that ''this'' individual self is an integral part of ''that'' whole vast ''other'' universe. Only during a supraordinate state of consciousness can two such ''separate'' self other ''entities'' as samsara and nirvana unite into ''Oneness.'' Two events made possible this second, supraordinate unifying insight (a) these two states (the ordinary and...

Presence

Great teachers make lasting impressions by their presence. What we can observe these days in Thich Nhat Hanh or the Dalai Lama, I saw earlier in Kobori-Roshi's demeanor, posture, and graceful actions. As an observer, I believe such presence expresses at the neurological level an extraordinary way of being at home within the immediate space and time of one's surroundings composure, readiness, grace. Kobori-Roshi said this, in turn, about his own revered teacher, Shonen-Roshi. ''One of the most...

Problem Words Pure Consciousness Being Cosmic

The question really is not to define the fact for we cannot do that but to get at A word is a word. An experience is an experience. Both are different. Kobori-Roshi advised me early to beware of words that had multiple meanings. This chapter probes a few more of them. The phrase ''pure consciousness'' continues to sow confusion more than a decade after Forman pointed to its semantic pitfalls.2 When someone employs the term today, it remains unclear whether its usage describes an early moment,...

Remembering and Forgetting

The different sets of hippocampal place cells just described help subserve two different frames of reference. These egocentric and allocentric modes of perception are fundamental to our basic self other distinctions. But if we are going to encode spatial distinctions into memories we can use, we must classify and categorize them in many other ways. When monkeys perform delayed visual matching tasks, it turns out that their hippocampal cells are quite sensitive to separate categories of stimulus...

SoELFther

Other hides in there, but SELF dominates. It obscures, distorts, and filters the message. From the Zen Buddhist perspective, this is the fundamental delusion. What do we resemble, instead Just one tiny wave rising in a vast ocean, an ever so transient phenomenon in that whole vast universe of unconditioned unity. In such a domain, self is simply one other expression of OTHER. Cezanne, whose words introduce this chapter, was trying to read nature by penetrating his own veils of interpretation....

Some Other Lateralized Sensitivities of the Right Cerebral Hemisphere

Our right cerebral hemisphere is dominant for various attentional mechanisms. These are directed externally toward extrapersonal space7 (see chapters 15 and 47). A variety of tests also suggests that we have a central physiological asymmetry in the way we process somatosensory data. Meador and colleagues documented this in their study of 126 healthy adults of both sexes, 110 of whom were right-handed. Using a weak electric pulse, they tested the sensory thresholds of their subjects' right and...

Subsequent Temporal Lobe Contributions to What Vision to Our Sense of Psychic Selfhood and to Our Notions of When

As we follow this lower stream of visual messages, we find it integrated into many other circuits farther forward within the rest of the temporal lobe. Remarkable pattern recognition functions arise within these templates. They help us identify ''what'' we are now looking at. Farther forward and medially, other intricate temporal lobe circuits do even more. They provide a matrix for our more intimate subjectivities. For example, in an instant, they start helping us resolve the answers to a...

Textual References to Moonlight and Emptiness during the Actual Final Death of the Brain

In the Dalai Lama's preface to this old text,17 he notes that Those who die within a virtuous attitude have a sense of passing from darkness into light, are free from anxiety and see pleasant appearances.'' Indeed, as the sequences of actual biological death evolve, many of the subject's prior conceptions are said to dissolve into the mind of radiant white appearance.'' At this juncture, according to the older Tibetan literature, three distinct phenomena then converge the dawning of extreme...

The Insula and Disgust

Zen invites us to look deeply into the roots of our loathings and disgusts. The insular cortex qualifies for some of these introspections. When Penfield and Faulk stimulated the insula during brain operations, their patients reported unpleasant tastes and sensations of nausea referred to the stomach.3 Later it was found that rats cannot develop their usual, easily conditioned aversion to noxious tastes after the insula has been destroyed by ibotenic acid. Imaging studies show that we activate...

The Middle Insula Stays in Touch during Maternal Attachment and Romantic Love

The middle insula is one part of the constellation of regions involved in certain positive emotions. Signals from this middle region increase when mothers look at pictures of their 2-year-olds, and when lovers of either sex look at pictures of their beloved11 (see chapter 62). Moreover, other recent lines of evidence suggest that this middle part has a supporting role in exteroceptive sensations of a rather special kind. It turns out that thin unmyelinated fibers convey slower touch sensations...

The Pulvinar

There is overwhelming evidence that the pulvinar has a role in visual salience. ''Salience'' describes the automatic process that enables us to grasp a particular stimulus event, hold on to it, and transform it into a subject of special, meaningful interest. Covering the back of the thalamus is a large nucleus that plays a vital role in conferring salience. The pulvinar is the pivotal association nucleus for the back of the cortex. Its name means ''cushion,'' suggested perhaps by its plump...

The Reticular Nucleus and Its Extrareticular Allies

The GABAergic reticular nucleus a preferential target of corticothalamic projections. We keep mentioning the reticular nucleus. Yet, when Kolliker described it over a century ago, it certainly looked like no other nucleus. It was just a thin inconspicuous sheet of nerve cells that capped the contours of the thalamus Z 267-271 . But later, physiologists discovered that it served as a gate to the impulses streaming up from the thalamus and down from the cortex through its dendrites. When...

The Reticular Nucleus Influences Behavior

Thus far, we have discussed how the reticular nucleus influences the vertical, first-order, thalamocortical input starting to rise up to the cortex. It can also influence some kinds of higher-order horizontal transmission. These transcortical relays help one cortical area interact with another. This is a fourth aspect of reticular nucleus functions. This influence has thus far been studied when it was brought to bear on messages in transit from the motor regions in the front of the brain.6 The...

The Right Hippocampus during the Resolution of Ordinary Japanese Riddles

The Japanese are among the many who enjoy puzzles. One puzzle goes What can move heavy logs, but can't move a small nail '' Suppose you were a subject being monitored by fMRI when you saw this riddle. You had already been stumped by it at an earlier presentation. You still didn't know the answer this second time. Eight seconds later, still puzzled, you finally saw the correct word answer. It flashed forth on a screen for 2 seconds river. During the next 8 seconds, with re gard just to your two...

The Sequence of Reflections after Kensho

It starts abruptly, peaks, has a diminuendo, then sponsors various thoughtful probings after the fact. During kensho's earliest phases, no paradox is evident. No single sensation could convey its direct, global impression of ''Reality'' (nor is the scene being hallucinated). ''Reality'' is itself being realized. However, this insightful process is not your usual kind of ''realization.'' Rather it reflects much deeper levels of reading between the lines than you ever...

The Shallow Merging Unities of the Absorptions

It always seems necessary to clarify the important distinctions between absorptions and authentic states of insight-wisdom.3 Hence another brief reminder, stressing that absorptions are relatively common, and chiefly change the sensibilities (see chapter 74). They do not convey this deeper, insightful awakening into oneness. Absorption is well-named, because its hyperawareness soaks up, as it were, either the internalized world, or the external world, whichever field happens to be perceived at...

The SoCalled Great Death as Distinct from Final Biological Death

The Great Death'' is one other phrase which became associated with that total voidness of self-in-the-world which occurs during kensho-satori.16 Extinguished are both the self-centered core of the psyche and all thoughts and conceptions'' that this fictional self had once attached to the world outside. This vacancy of self is the major contributor to the impression of moodlight that gathers momentum as kensho's sequences unfold (see table 11, chapter 95, and chapter 97). Let us attempt to...

The Upper Rod Pathways That Contribute to Where Vision

From their rod receptors in the retina, most rod channels lead back to large nerve cells in the lateral geniculate nucleus2 (see chapter 44). In primates, these big mag-nocellular (M) cells occupy the first two layers of the geniculate nucleus. M cells have high contrast sensitivities. This enables their visual signals to seem ''brighter'' in the very center of an image. These signals then ''stand out'' more than do others from zones off to the side. The next relays carry rod channel impulses...

Through What Steps Does Ordinary Insight Transform Consciousness

Insights are sporadic, unpredictable, short-lived moments of exceptional thinking, during which implicit assumptions about the relevance of common knowledge to a problem must be discarded before a solution can be revealed. Luo and colleagues recently monitored ordinary levels of insight using both highresolution fMRI and evoked potential techniques. In chapter 29, we noted their finding that subjects who resolved ordinary Japanese riddles also activated their right hippocampus.2 There is more...

Toward a Still Larger Psychic Sense of sefintheWorld

Let us interpret ''a larger sense of self gained through hard practice'' to signify what it did in this last chapter. There, it meant that certain aspirants' extensive training process enabled them to develop more mature attitudes and ongoing enlightened traits. By way of condensing what all these words signify, let us suggest that the trainees have evolved a larger sense of self-in-the-world. Some of this, as it relates to kensho, might be envisioned as corresponding to the bottom part of...

Toward the Nature and Origins of Salience

This practical issue how we each behave as responsible individuals within society is of immense importance. We need to reach a better understanding of how each of our brains comes to realize what is its actual ground'' of reality. With few exceptions, the neurosciences have not yet placed high on their agenda this vital need to clarify how human beings authenticate reality, either their seemingly Absolute notions about Reality or their ordinary levels of working reality.'' The issue goes far...

Two Implications of the Word Realization

The alert reader may already be aware that realize and realization are elastic words. We often find them used in ways that could obscure the distinctions between the two different phases soon to be discussed. For example, at the start of kensho, the one world is being directly experienced as the true Reality.'' In a flash, reality is being made Real realized, in the form of a verb. In this phase, the self is absent. It is not there to comment, nor are any words or other discriminating functions...

Ventral Periventricular Area

Nerve cells here, in the arcuate nucleus, make a wide variety of other important peptides. Among them are two smaller opioid peptides, enkephalin and dynorphin, and two pivotal stress-activated peptides, the endogenous opioid, beta-endorphin, and ACTH4 (see chapter 32). Glutamate receptors in the hypothalamus serve as its major source of excitatory input. This finding helps explain why excess glutamate has such a selective excitotoxic effect on cells in this arcuate nucleus Z 654, 665 .

What Is It The Temporal Lobe Pathway

Listen not to me, but to the nature of the Universe when it says All is One. The truly free mind reaches a state in which opposites are seen as empty. This is the only freedom. Dynamic Temporal Lobe Interpretations Our primary auditory cortex (BA 41) does occupy a small part of the temporal lobe.1 But the large temporal lobe contributes much more to various mental states than simple listening and hearing Z 247-253 . For example, along its top edge runs the plump superior temporal gyrus...

What Should I Do about It The Frontal Lobes

Lateral, orbitofrontal, and medial prefrontal cortices are robustly interconnected, suggesting that they participate in concert in central executive functions. When the symphony calls for deep throbbing resonances, the orchestra conductor points his baton at the kettle drummer. When it's time for high melodious notes, he points to the violins. Our frontal lobes perform similar executive functions. Knowing the score, they, too, rely on many other regions to start, and to stop, at precisely the...

Whats unique about your book

Its author has personally experienced several different alternate states of consciousness. I went on to examine in detail both these brief phenomena and also the more gradual transformations that evolved during long-range meditative training. My background is that of a clinical neurologist and researcher. So, I've correlated my personal observations with the latest plausible explanations I could find in the neuroscience and Zen literature. The result is a series of testable working hypotheses....

Why Pay Attention to the Tanden

It is not clear during which century the ancients first emphasized the benefits of focusing attention on the breathing movements down in the lower abdomen (the tanden). Zen teachers have commonly advocated the technique. It begs to be studied carefully, longitudinally, using modern psychophysiological and neuro-imaging methods, especially in meditators already expert in its use. The technique first requires arriving at a certain level of calm, undistracted relaxation. It also requires a degree...

Why were the soft highlights enhanced during the phase of moonlight perception

Many local white-against-black contrasts appeared exaggerated. Blacks were darker, whites were lighter. No changes were so pronounced that they created an effect of glare. Inherent in rod pathways are distinctive properties that can also produce similar heightened contrast effects. For example, certain cells in the rod pathway are eight times more sensitive to light dark contrasts than are cells of the cone pathway.2 These high-contrast functions can become more obvious when all vision suddenly...

Zen Education

Education implies the leading out of capacities that are already there. I have learned the most from Zen educators. They expressed Zen at the simplest practical, ground level of daily living. They were leaders who kept reminding me I am my own ''artist-potter.'' My job is to mold my own clay, develop the right habits, educate myself in how best to dissolve my selfish preoccupations. I am still a decades-long work in progress. A roshi needn't tell you everything about Zen just enough to pique...

Zen

However, nothing in that chapter on migraine asserts that the insightful phenomena at the core of states of awakening originate in the migraine syndrome. The known mechanisms of migraine do not govern, or explain, the striking qualities of the insights that flash in during the early, major, and relatively long phases of kensho. Nor would one consider that those brilliant, prodromal, excitatory scintillations that usher in a classic migraine aura are comparable with the late phenomenon of...

How Auditory Induced Hypnosis Affects Attention

Hypnosis is used to distract and divert one's attention. Self-hypnosis and autosuggestion are also techniques used not only in ''positive thinking'' approaches but also in some versions of self-guided meditation Z 352-355 . A very relaxed state was induced by hypnosis in eight subjects who had been selected for their high degree of hypnotizability. PET scan activity increased in both the inferior and middle occipital regions (BA 18 and 19). So too did the subjects' occipital delta EEG...

How Does Visually Induced Hypnosis Affect Attention

It has been speculated that hypnosis engages primarily those higher and more anterior networks of attention, the ones that are well supplied by dopamine, including the anterior cingulate gyrus. In this regard, hypnosis can generate a so-called obstructive visual hallucination. If obstructive were a word to be taken literally, it might seem to refer to an obstruction projected out there'' that was somehow blocking a more distant object from being seen Z 388-390 . However, when the whole process...

GABA Inhibits Glutamate Excites

The opposites are beneficial the fairest harmonies arise from things that differ. GABA is the brain's inhibitory workhorse. It is the pharmacological opposite of glutamate. Its acronym stands for gamma(y)-aminobutyric acid. The brain applies fast-acting GABA circuits at all hierarchical levels to check its local processes of excitation. A remarkable fact the brain makes its GABA from glutamate. This places inhibition just one chemical reaction step behind excitation Z 208, 210 . We begin with...

Neurotrophins and Change

In addition to their classic effects on neuronal cell survival, neurotrophins can also regulate axonal and dendritic growth and guidance, synaptic structure and connections, neuro-transmitter release, long-term potentiation (LTP) and synaptic plasticity. Zen training can transform a person. Transformation involves major changes. In the field of neurobiology, we have seen how plasticity refers to the way our nervous system changes. What changes during Zen practice What happens when we keep...

General Comments on Neuroimaging

Without timed, detailed accounts of meditators' internal experiences, readers are in no position to interpret with assurance the meaning of neuroimaging reports. In this millennium, the scientific community has every reason to insist on rigorous selection of subjects, prior training in the laboratory, and an equally rigorous program of refined, accurate psychological accounting. One hopes that future comprehensive studies of (Zen and other) meditators will be conducted with standards of...

The Hernandez Connection A Darkened Sky and Moonglow

Zen Words. Zen Calligraphy. Printed in Kyoto, Japan, 1991, 68. This translation suggests that the original poem is attributable to Han Shan, a practicing Buddhist layman of the seventh or eighth century. He described his heart-mind (shin) as resembling the moon in autumn, as it was reflecting from the clear pure water of a pool. But he questioned what else could be said, because there was nothing to compare it with. See S. Hamill and J. Seaton. The Poetry of Zen....

The Pineal and Melatonin

Reiter and J. Robinson. Melatonin. New York, Bantam, 1995, p. 173. 2. G. Tooley, S. Armstrong, T. Norman, et al. Acute increases in night-time plasma melatonin levels following a period of meditation. Biological Psychology 2000 53 69-78. Midnight was chosen because melatonin levels normally begin to peak between midnight and 4 a.m. The four pooled samples during the control period varied over a thirteen-fold range from 28 to 363 pg mL. Comparably pooled samples varied in...

The Nitrous Oxide Connection

The atmosphere of the highest of all possible heavens must be composed of this gas. High praise for another gas. Two centuries ago, nitrous oxide already had a reputation for prominent psychoactive effects. The British romantic poet Robert Southey certainly enjoyed getting high on nitrous oxide. His contemporary, Samuel Coleridge, while also under the influence of N2O, felt ''more unmingled pleasure than I had ever before experienced.''2 No less an observer than William James had also...

Parietal Lobe Contributions to Attention

One finding is relevant to the ways we sustain attention during meditation we involve the posterior part of the intraparietal sulcus on the left when we try to maintain an ongoing state of continuous attention5 (see chapter 41). What if you already know a lot about what the object is that you are searching for, but do not know precisely where it is located in the environment Now certain parts of your parietal lobe play a major role in orienting spatial attention.6 Some fMRI data emphasize the...

The Remarkable Properties of Nitric Oxide

Sight and insight on the physiological role of nitric oxide in the visual system. Trends in Neurosciences 1999 22 110-115. In this and the following citations, the NO' being referred to is assumed to arise in normal nerve cells, not from altered glia or other cells. 2. J. Cudeiro, C. Rivadulla, R. Rodriguez, et al. Further observations on the role of nitric oxide in the feline lateral geniculate nucleus. European Journal of Neuroscience 1996 8 144152. 3. Y....

Zen Poetry

Stryk and Ikemoto took a different tack.6 First, they identified certain Japanese poets as Zen poets. Next, they went on to specify 88 ''Zen poems.'' Not surprisingly, 14 of these 88 poems (16 ) also mention the moon and its light, again in conventional ways. We have not learned anything so far, except that Japanese writers include figurative ''moodlight'' devices reasonably often in their poetry. And living in Kyoto helps one appreciate that this literary usage can resonate at different levels...

Suchness and the Noumenon An Allocentric Perspective

I hold suchness to be the basis of all religious experience. If suchness were ''the basis of all religious experience,'' then why doesn't everyone know what ''suchness'' means The problem, as Suzuki noted, is that it must be experienced. Suchness ''defies a clear-cut definition.'' It gets lost when you present it as an idea. ''Strictly speaking any philosophy built on it will be a castle on the sand.'' So suchness begins beyond reach of our ordinary discursive intellect. It is a profound...

Meditative Attention Accessing Deeper Avenues of Seeing and Hearing

Classics of Buddhism and Zen, vol. 3. Boston, Shambhala, 2001,457. 2. A. Braverman. Mud and Water A Collection of Talks by the Zen Master Bassui. San Francisco, North Point Press, 1989,46. 3. Thich Nhat Hanh. Dharma Talk. Presented September 1997, Santa Barbara, CA. 4. J. Loori. The Eight Gates of Zen. A Program of Zen Training. Boston, Shambhala, 2002,106. 5. Braverman, Mud and Water, xv and xx. Braverman's commentaries make it clear that while Bassui may have been familiar with...

Quickenings

Side effects'' occur during the early months and years of meditation. They include emotional swings from vacant feelings to bliss, unusual body sensations, misperceptions (illusions), and hallucinations. These epiphenomena intrigue beginners. In formal Zen training, however, such quickenings (called makyo) are viewed as by-products of no spiritual significance. They are regarded as merely signs that one is moving along the path. This book views quickenings as expressions of a variety of surges...

Western Perspectives on Mystical Experiences

You must understand that a perspective on life that is derived from an inner experience is different from one that is arrived at intellectually. Taste as much of this as you can. Swallow what you need and spit out the rest. Taizan Maezumi-Roshi (1931-1995) (To his disciples, with regard to importing Japanese Zen teachings into the West.)2 Alexander Hardy surveyed three thousand contemporary Western religious experiences.3 Their major phenomena (reported by 15 or more of his subjects) included a...

Prajna Insight Wisdom

The only medicine for suffering, crime, and all the other woes of mankind is wisdom. Early at our very first meeting, Kobori-Roshi introduced me to the term prajna. It refers to an extraordinary flash of insight-wisdom. Prajna reaches depths far beyond one's ordinary generic levels of insight and minor epiphanies. Its shift of consciousness unveils existential issues. Prajna has also been likened to a lightning strike,'' a thunderbolt. My taste of kensho suggests that what evolves is not one...

The Well Concealed Hypothalamus

Here in this well-concealed spot, almost to be covered with a thumbnail, lies the very mainspring of primitive existence vegetative, emotional, reproductive on which, with more or less success, man has come to superimpose a cortex of inhibitions. The hypothalamus is well concealed deep down at the base of the brain. Harvey Cushing, a pioneering neurosurgeon, was careful to avoid damaging the hypothalamus when he operated on the pituitary gland just beneath. The slightest slip here, and his...

Buddhist Literary Metaphors and Similes in Haiku Moodlight

Kobori-Roshi once said to me ''Zen is closest to poetry.'' Shelley (1792-1822) had expressed similar sentiments (in ''A Defense of Poetry,'' the year before he died). ''Poetry,'' said Shelley, ''lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world.'' Let us turn first to poetry. Two old poetry collections can help us lift the veil by illustrating the main issues. Henderson collected 378 haiku, representing major Japanese poets from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries.5 Of these, 44 (12 ) refer...

Nitric Oxide and Migraine

An intriguing link now exists between nitric oxide and migraine.19 Sublingual nitroglycerin is an NO' donor. It serves to trigger a subsequent genuine migraine episode in susceptible migraineurs. This evoked migraine headache can be correlated with a significant rise in the plasma levels of a particular peptide. This pep-tide is involved in the calcium systems which can be related, in turn, back to the gene for calcitonin. PET scans monitored 24 persons subject to migraine while their headaches...

Varieties ofOneness and Unity Provisional Categories II and III

The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me. The next three categories may come as a surprise. (Zen is full of surprises, and of paradoxes too.) Here is the problem previous pages have all emphasized a Path that points in the direction of selflessness. This lack of self, or no self, is described by a particular technical term, anatta. However, traditions from both East and West do mention other kinds of Oneness that occur in advanced states beyond the absorptions. Though...

Vasopressin

Vasopressin differs from oxytocin only in two amino acid residues. It, too, is made in the hypothalamus, released elsewhere into the brain, and is also released by the pituitary gland into the bloodstream. Consider once again the brains of monogamous prairie voles. Dense coats of vasopressin receptors cover the ventral pallidum and medial amygdala. Moreover, male prairie voles have many more vasopressin fibers in their ventral pallidum than do the females.13 When male prairie voles receive a...

Cultural Metaphors Similes and Visual Symbols

To review a metaphor implies that two categories are more directly identical than they really are in fact. We invent moon metaphors because we need them. Metaphors are our fundamental mode of communication. Indeed, ''All language is highly metaphorical,'' and most of our ''abstract terms are borrowed from physical objects or actions.''2 We also need moon similes and moon symbols. A simile implies that two things or ideas are only similar, using the words like or as. A symbol is a sign (often...

The Attentive Art of Meditation

I like the silent church before the service begins, better than the preaching. All human evil comes from this man's being unable to sit still in a room. Emerson and Pascal express the general idea. But if you relied on standard dictionary definitions, you'd believe that to meditate always means you are thinking and engaging in active contemplation. Not so in Zen Buddhist meditation. Dainin Katagiri-Roshi (1928-1990) put it succinctly, ''In Zen, you let your frontal lobes rest.''1 One basic...

How does Zen meditation affect the brain physiologically

Meditation creates a series of complex psychophysiological changes. To begin with a loose generalization, one might say that Zen meditation does involve a kind of not thinking, clearly. And it then proceeds to carry this clear awareness into everyday living. At the entry level are the simpler forms of meditation. They adopt a passive attitude and help to generate a ''relaxation response,'' a term Herbert Benson introduced to summarize the early steps in a long...

Significance of the Late Moonlight Phase within the Whole Profile of Kensho

The time when the moon appears is not necessarily night. Why did colors drop out during kensho's late moonlight phase Is this a brief, temporary form of color blindness Yes. But it is a rare kind of color blindness.'' Not the one we are most familiar with. That kind affects cone receptors in the retina. It is chronic, congenital. Rarely, however, a patient suddenly loses the conscious appreciation of colors after a localized brain infarct. This neurological disorder is called cerebral...

Unusual Symptoms in Patients Who Have Temporal Lobe Seizures

During states of insight-wisdom, two general categories of phenomena might seem referable to the temporal lobes phenomena of addition (+), and phenomena of subtraction ( ) Z 605-615 . On rare occasions, certain neurological patients, during their focal temporal lobe seizures, can have additional positive symptoms of pleasure Z 349, 405-407 . Some of these pleasurable symptoms during seizures are reminiscent of other feelings that may also occur in association with certain authentic religious...

Affirming One Reality A Commentary on the Sandokai

Suzuki, When you use the word reality, are you referring to the relative reality of the physical world or to the absolute reality of the transcendental world Forms do not look empty. They have shapes. So why does the Heart Sutra insist that form is emptiness, that form and emptiness are the same Z 698-699 . To begin to resolve this paradox, it may help first to reexamine the question. To do so, let us begin now with the living reality of this world of form right in...

A PET Study of Multiple Personality Disorder

The imaging data reviewed in this chapter thus far has been based on normal subjects, not on psychiatric patients. At first, it might seem that patients who have a multiple personality disorder would present a unique opportunity. If this is an accurate diagnosis, it could imply that one single patient has access to two different autobiographical selves at different times.12 This condition has recently been renamed dissociative identity disorder. It usually develops in a context of severe...

Our Brains Own Opioids

Thou hast the keys of Paradise, oh just, subtle, and mighty opium Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859), Confessions of an English Opium Eater Opiates have relieved suffering for ages when given by mouth or by injection. Yet researchers found that the brain made opiate-like substances only a few decades Can increase the signal-to-noise ratio in the hippocampusc Are released, together with ACTH, into the brain Have the most selective affinities of all endogenous opioids Have a variety of inhibitory,...