dr.  Dan Brown

In this second part of my interview with Dr. Daniel P. Brown, we explore the second phase of Mahamudra’s Great Way Pointer training.

In part 1we explored the Elephant Path of concentration and meditation, the first stage of training in Mahamudra, which marks the Great Path.

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Part 2 – The Neuroscience of Arousal

In this episode, Dan talks about how concentration transitioned to the Tibetan mahamudra training of the Elephant Way. Some of the questions we explore are:

  1. What are the challenges that arise in the higher stages of concentration and meditation, and how do you deal with issues that arise and challenge our concentration?
  2. Developing a sense of self as a central organizing principle
  3. The Heart Sutra
  4. Judson Brewer’s work on the Neuroscience of Awakening supported by the Fetzer Foundation.
  5. What is the synchronous mind and the cosmic database. These are the awakened states in which the sutras are written.
  6. How do we access the space database?
  7. What is Mind alone and what does it mean?
  8. What are the three data maps according to Mahamudra?
  9. What changes has Dan seen in his students over time? With what timeline?
  10. What is metacognition and why is it so important? How does metacognition help you not get lost in meditation? How does the teacher help create that metacognitive space for the student?
  11. How does metacognition relate to Western psychology?

Short Bio

Dan is an Associate Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School, a world-renowned expert in Forensic Law and Western psychology, as well as a Senior Meditation Master in Indo-Tibetan Bon and Buddhism.

Dan has over 50 years of research synthesizing Western psychotherapy and positive psychology with Eastern contemplative traditions.

Long Bio

Dr. Brown has shared his 47 years of meditation practice, including Patanjali’s Yogasutras and his original Sanskrit commentaries, with the great religious historian Mircea Eliade, and as a direct meditation practice with Dr. Studied with Arvind Vasavada. He studied mindfulness meditation in Burma with its founder Mahasi Sayadaw and other masters such as Tungpalu Sayadaw and Acchan Cha.

He studied Indo-Tibetan concentration and mindfulness meditation with his root teacher Geshe Wangyal, then Denmo Loncho Rinpoche and Yeshe Tapgyay, and learned Mahamudra meditation from numerous Tibetan lamas. He spent 46 years translating meditation texts from Tibetan and Sanskrit languages.

As a Western psychologist, he spent 10 years conducting outcome research on beginning and advanced meditators, with an emphasis on exploring the effects of intensive concentration meditation and the nature of the awakened mind. He has taught intensive meditation retreats internationally for 32 years, both alone and in collaboration with a number of Tibetan meditation masters.

His latest interest is in meditations designed to stabilize awakening in everyday life and allow positive mental qualities to flourish, such as the Greater Completion (Dzogshen) meditations.

He is the author of 4 books on meditation, including Transformations of Consciousness and Pointing the Great Way. He translated the Pith Instructions on A Khrid rDzogs Chen [Great Completion] meditation and an extensive collection of the most advanced cave and hermitage yogi practices, The Self-Creating Triple Embodiment of Enlightenment.

Dr. Brown’s background in both Western psychology and Eastern meditation traditions offers a unique integration of contemporary Western research on peak performance and positive psychology and classical Buddhist meditation lineage traditions. He has the only scientific study to identify the neurocircuitry of the meditative experience of the waking mind.

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