Agora Speaker Series 2020 - Prof Shaun Gallagher

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  • Wollongong Campus
    LHA Research Hub, B19.2072

Venue: LHA Research Hub, B19.2072

3.30pm-4.00pm Undergraduate Talk
"Can meditation make you sick?"
I'll talk about some studies of meditation practice that have led to problems for people predisposed to psychiatric disorders.

4.15-5.30pm Research Talk
'The meditating self'.

Abstract: There are debates both in traditional Buddhist philosophy and in contemporary research on Buddhist meditation practices about the concept of no-self, as Evan Thompson makes clear in his recent book Why I am not a Buddhist (2020). At the end of his chapter on the self he suggests that my concept of the pattern theory of self might be productively relevant to the contemporary debate. Indeed, it's possible to see the concept of self-pattern as related to the Buddhist concept of the five Skandhas or aggregates: sensation/feeling, form/valence, perceptions, mental activity and consciousness. The debate has focused on the difference between the state of no-self (arrived at through a process of neutralizing the aggregates) and the minimal self, which phenomenologists argue remains operative even in those practices described as non-dual states. My aim is not to resolve the debate, but to point to one of the central problems that needs to be resolved before we can make progress on the issue.