‘Contemporanea/mente’ Conference in Naples

contemporaneamenteThe most important event to celebrate the thirty-fifth anniversary of Merigar will certainly be the opening of the Arcidosso Museum of Asian Art and Culture that Chögyal Namkhai Norbu will inaugurate on December 11, 2016.

For a human life thirty-five years is an age of coming to maturity, and on the occasion of this anniversary the Merigar Gakyil also proposed that the main Lings in Italy organize some events to show how the Dzogchen Community, in this time of the uninterrupted work of the Master, has been able to take root in the cities where its students are more numerous.

Rome and Naples responded by organizing two conferences: Zhenphenling (Rome) on dreams and Namdeling (Naples) on the theme of consciousness from a multidisciplinary perspective.

The title chosen for this second conference was ‘Contemporanea/mente’ and the image that identifies it is the profile of the Buddha and that of a human, shown with magnetic resonance imaging, that are facing each other.

Scientific research, thanks to the latest technology, is opening new spaces of knowledge about the characteristics of our minds and the mechanisms of consciousness. However, the fact that the advance of knowledge has traced an image of our psychic processes that is very close to those described in Buddhist philosophy did not escape some of the most open minded researchers. It is no coincidence that Francisco Varela and then Daniel Goleman, of the Mind & Life Institute, one of the most advanced centers of research in the field of Science of Consciousness, have been in contact with HH the Dalai Lama since 1987, acknowledging him as a repository of knowledge of human nature among the most profound known so far.

The aim of the conference is to bring together top representatives working in different fields (psychology, neurophysics, physics, philosophy) on the subject of consciousness, and create a dialogue with the public and each other in order to learn about recent developments.

This event has been made possible thanks to the collaboration between the IDC Merigar and Namdeling with the important collaboration of Prof. Giacomella Orofino from the Center of Studies on Buddhism at the “L’Orientale” University of Naples, and the participation of Dr. Antonella Bozzaotra, president of the Order of Psychologists of Campania, both students of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu.

Proposing a comparison between the vision of man, with this unique aspect of the mind, according to Buddhist thought and what emerges from contemporary scientific research, seemed the best way to highlight the modernity and importance of the Tibetan cultural heritage. We know that after the Chinese invasion, Tibetan culture is running a serious risk of extinction. Tibetans are even losing their language, because at school children are only taught Chinese. We must not forget that the deep knowledge of Vajrayana Buddhism has come down to us through this culture and with the teachers and texts that it has produced, so losing this knowledge and the ability to access those texts would be truly an immeasurable loss.

The work of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, in addition to transmitting the Dzogchen teaching, is strongly centered on the preservation and enhancement of this culture. If the opening of the Museum of Asian Art and Culture will be an important moment for its preservation, we are convinced that events like this conference can be opportunities to give new life and new value to this knowledge.

Gino Vitiello