Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying - Foreword

An Exploration of Consciousness

Foreword

We live in an era in which science and technology have had a tremendous impact on all our lives. Science, a great product of the human intellect, and the wonderful tool of technology, are expressions of our greatest gift—human creativity. Some of their effects, such as developments in communications and health care, have been wonderfully fruitful. Others, like sophisticated weapons systems, have been unbelievably destructive.

Many people have believed that science and technology could solve all our problems. Lately, however, we have witnessed a change in attitude. It has become clear that external progress alone cannot bring mental peace. People have begun to pay greater attention to inner science, the path of mental investigation and development. Through our own experience we have arrived at a point where there is a new awareness of the importance and value of inner mental qualities. Therefore, the explanations of the mind and its workings presented by the ancient scholars of India and Tibet are becoming increasingly valuable in our time. The strength of these traditions is related to developing mental peace. Science and technology are related to material progress. But a combination of these two can provide the complete conditions for obtaining real human happiness.

The series of meetings that we have called “Mind and Life” have been going on for several years. I consider them to be of crucial importance. It is not so long ago that many people viewed common science’s objective knowledge and the subjective understanding of inner science as mutually exclusive. In the Mind and Life meetings experts from both these fields of investigation have come together to exchange their experience and different points of view on topics of common interest. It has been a pleasure to discover the great extent to which we have been able to enrich each other’s understanding. Moreover, our meetings have been marked not merely by polite curiosity, but also by a warm spirit of openness and friendship.

On the occasion reported in this book we met to discuss sleeping, dreaming, and dying. These are topics that absorb scientists and meditators alike, but are also universal elements of human experience. We all sleep. Whether we acknowledge it or not we all dream. And certainly every single one of us will die. Although these issues affect us all, they retain a sense of mystery and fascination. Therefore, I am sure that many readers will be delighted to be able to share in the fruit of our discussions. It remains only for me to express my gratitude to everyone who has contributed to these meetings so far, and to repeat my earnest hope that they will continue to take place in the future.

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
March 25, 1996

 

How to cite this document:
© Mind and Life Institute, Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying (Wisdom Publications, 1997)

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