Social Gathering- Saturday 29th November
Lunch and Movie
at the Tai Pan Hotel, Sukhumvit 23
The Nirvana Neuron?
Introduced and moderated by Dr Holly. Mindfulness meditation (vipassana) and neurology – how meditation might affect the brain. Special Event in Bangkok:-
Are spiritual experiences of meditation and transcendence simply a (mis)firing of the neurons? Can all subjective experience be narrowed down to the geography of the neural net that comprises the brain?
Jill Bolte Taylor
To introduce the topic is the 10 minute talk on the subject by neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, who suffered a stroke some 10 years ago that triggered some kind of spiritual experience. A scientist through and My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey.
So we have the questions – are spiritual experiences explained by neurology? In much the same way as drugs affect the neurotransmitting chemicals of the brain to produce ecstasies and bliss, do yogis use concentrated thought to rewire their neural net for a ‘spiritual experience’? Or is mind something that is beyond the brain?
Following the Taylor video clip, comes a much more balanced BBC documentary by neurology populist Susan Greenfield. At 40 minutes it is the first in a 6 part series that aired in 2000 called Brain Story, and is nicely presented by Greenfield, who is to neurology what Richard Dawkins is to biology. Only she is quite nice too …
The first part of the series raises the above questions in the cool and rational light of science. But does it provide answers? If mind is not the same as brain, then this opens possibilities for rebirth, or for gods, devas and all the rest. It opens the possibility of a transcendent enlightenment that is not dependent on anything (‘unconditioned’ in the Buddhist terminology). Google up “BBC Brain Story” for more details.
All views welcome. The videos are to introduce the topic and provide food for thought. As usual a large part of the intention is to meet up for informal lunch together and get to know some of the other faces, so we’ll be keeping it light and fun, and everyone will have chance to speak so that we can all get to know each other a little better.
Lunch is an excellent buffet, for 170 baht per person which is one of the best deals we have found at a Sukhumvit Hotel. It includes your own custom pizza – but order it as soon as you arrive as there is often a delay as the lunch crowds come in.
Due to some extra funds - Lunch is at the special price of 150 baht/person. :)
After lunch we will ascend to the meeting room on the 5th floor. There is a 2500 baht room hire fee that we’ll share between us – again, the cheapest we have found on Sukhumvit, and they provide us with the projector and other equipment.
11:30 – 12:30
Lunch (early to avoid afternoon rush)
Introduction by Dr Holly
Jill Bolte Taylor video (10 mins)
Susan Greenfield Documentary
Views and opinions
Finish. All welcome to hang around afterwards since we have the room until 5ish.
You are also welcome to join just for the lunch, or come late and just join in with the videos.
Goto Asoke BTS or Underground line. Walk East and go down Sukhumvit 23 for 336 meters (thanks Google Earth). Turn left into the Tai Pan Hotel. Restaurant is on the ground floor as you enter the building. Make sure to come and announce yourself – or they might not give you our discounted price for lunch!