Bridging Vajrayana Buddhism and Science to Enhance Human Cognition

Associate Professor Maria Kozhevnikov (NUS Psychology and Communications and New Media) organized Enhanced Cognition, the first scientific conference on Vajrayana practices. Held during March and April 2021, the international conference was funded by an MOE T1 grant and featured renowned Vajrayana masters, H.E. Gyeltshen Tulku Rinpoche, a high yogi of the Drukpa order from Bhutan, and Gebchak Wangdrak Rinpoche III, an abbot of Gebchak nunnery, known for its accomplished female Tummo (meditation that controls one’s inner energy) practitioners. The event was attended by prominent cognitive psychologists, medical scientists, neuroscientists, and Buddhist studies researchers.

Speakers and panelists included psychologists, neuroscientists, medical scientists, historians, and philosophers, working together with Vajrayana scholars and practitioners to examine the effects of mind-body practices of Vajrayana on enhancing human cognition.

An edited book, a special issue of the journal Contemplative Sciences journal, and a position paper in a psychology and neuroscience journal are planned to follow.

A/P Kozhevnikov has studied the connection between cognitive neurosciences and meditation for many years. Recently, her 2019 article ‘Enhancing Human Cognition Through Vajrayana Practices’ in the Journal of Religion and Health identified the existence of enhanced cognitive states, unique and energized states of consciousness characterized by a dramatic boost in focused attention.

Tsangyang Gyamtso blessing
Photo: ‘Tsangyang Gyamtso blessing‘ by Gebchak Gonpa

Access the conference website here.

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