Science and technology have a crucial impact on our lives. Journey to the edge of the mind is the result of a week of interviews at the Mind and life conferences in 1992. A meeting where philosophers, physicists, neurologists and even psychologists discuss, with the Dalai Lama, themes as mysterious as sleep, dreams and the death. Dark areas of the ego, where Western science is often uncomfortable, but where the Tibetan Buddhist tradition finds itself fully at home. The exchanges approach Plato, Saint-Augustin or Descartes to evade the question of the self in the West, the place of the human soul in the cosmos... Very quickly the question of the dream appears, on which Freud meets the Tibetan tradition which has looked into , for ten centuries, on its phenomenology.
The book comes to the deepest mystery of existence, death. The philosopher Charles Taylor exposes the notion of eternity in Christianity or even “our belief in being able to control things” in our secular societies, which transforms our relationship to death. What about near-death experiences? Joan Halifax, anthropologist, reports clinical cases on the subject which is, moreover, very well explained in The Tibetan Book of the Dead. For the Dalai Lama, near-death experiences are a separate process from the dissolution-to-death phases. Scientists note that Buddhism could make a great contribution in this area.
On all the topics covered, the teaching of the subtle mind of the Dalai Lama highlights the "really difficult problem" of consciousness for Westerners. These phenomena remain outside our scientific traditions. While contemporary discourse on consciousness is increasingly grounded in experimental evidence, the epistemological gap between modern science and Buddhist teachings remains deep. This book has the merit of building bridges between these two methods, not stimulating debates