David Vago, PhD and I recently recorded two rich and informative conversations focused on translating the Buddhist psychological conceptualization of “enlightenment” into modern clinical terms. David is currently involved in cutting edge neurobiological research on the awakened mind states that arise during various meditative practices. This first part of our two-part conversation covered the following topics: contextualizing the terms enlightenment, awakening, liberation; demarcating clinical markers of progress on the path; Nirvana and mini-nirvanas; state vs trait changes of awakening; extinction of mental and emotional habits; dissolving greed, hatred and delusion; pure awareness or nature of mind; the inherent problems of quick fix mindfulness. Please enjoy! Part Two will be available in a week or two.
David Vago, PhD is an associate psychologist in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory (FNL), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and instructor at Harvard Medical School. David has previously held the position of Senior Research Coordinator for the Mind & Life Institute and is currently a Mind and Life Fellow. David’s research interests broadly focus on utilizing translational models to identify and characterize neurobiological substrates mediating psychopathology, to better predict outcomes and potential biologically-based diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for those suffering with mental illness. David has been specifically investigating brain networks supporting self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence in order to clarify adaptive mind-brain-body interactions and their therapeutic relevance in psychiatric disorders. http://davidvago.bwh.harvard.edu/
An mp3 audio version of this discussion is available at http://www.awakenedpresence.com/sounds/dlpart1.mp3