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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

His Holiness attends Symposium on Cognitive Science at University of Toronto

October 26, 2010

by Bhuchung K Tsering
Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)
October 2010

Toronto, Ontario -- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
participated in a symposium on "Cognitive
Science, Mindfulness and Consciousness" at the
University of Toronto on the day of his arrival in Canada on 22 October.

His Holiness was received at the University by
its Chancellor, David R. Peterson. Speaker Penpa
Tsering and Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche, who
are on a visit to Toronto, were also there to receive His Holiness.

In his welcome remarks, Chancellor Peterson spoke
about his admiration of His Holiness as well as
interest in Tibet saying the fascination began
after he had read the book “Seven Years in Tibet,” a long time back.

The Chancellor also said that when he told his 97
year old mother that he would be introducing the
Dalai Lama, his mother reminded him about His
Holiness’ message of love the last time he was in Toronto.

University Vice President Franco Vaccarino, who
was the moderator, said the topic of this
symposium is symbolic of either the final
frontier of science or the beginning of a new
frontier where science meets humanism. He then
invited the four panelists to make their presentations.

The first presenter was Dr. Laura Ann Petitto,
Professor, Department of Psychology, University
of Toronto Scarborough and the University of
Toronto.  Dr. Petitto spoke on “Expanding the
Human Brain’s Processing Capacity for Thought And
Language: Insights from Neuroimaging Explorations
of Bilingual and Monolingual Brains.”  She
explained the biological mechanisms and
environmental factors that together determine how
human beings acquire language, as well as how
language is organized in the brain. She explained
how languages and concepts impacted the brain and
the difference between a monolingual person’s
brain and that of a bilingual person.

The next presenter, Adam Anderson, Associate
Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto,
who spoke on "The Mindful Brain" and how the
concept of self was perceived and the role of mindfulness in this.

Dr. Zindel Segal, Professor in the Departments of
Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of
Toronto, in his presentation "Mindful Awareness
Enhances Emotion Regulation And Prevents
Recurrence of Mood Disorder" spoke about the
impact of mindfulness. He explained the
mindfulness training with cognitive therapy skills for cognitive therapy.

The last presenter was Dr. Tony Toneatto,
Associate Professor in the Department of
Psychiatry and Director of Buddhism, Psychology
and Mental Health Minor Program in University of
Toronto. He talked about a survey of the thought
process as people meditate and how mindfulness impacted them.

In his comments following the presentation, His
Holiness said he was very impressed with the
panel of presenters.  He then talked about the
development in human belief from the ancient time
when they solely prayed and hope for results to
the development of science and technology in the
past two centuries.  During this period, His
Holiness said people felt all theirs aspirations
were being fulfilled by science.  However, in the
latter part of the 20th century people began to
feel the limitations of science and began to pay
attention to inner science.  He said in the past,
scientists merely looked at external matters but
then they began to look at themselves and their
inner mind.  This has led to a new development
and has made modern science more complete, he added.

His Holiness said this new quest will enable the
people to get a deeper knowledge of the inner
world, which can then be utilized for promoting a
healthy body and a healthy mind.  His Holiness
recalled having wondered 30 years back where the
East and the West met.  He now said the
interaction between science and the inner mind
was the meeting place for the two saying that
modern science, which is mainly western, combined
with eastern inner science can have more benefit for humanity as a whole.

His Holiness also commented on some of
presentations, including the one by Dr. Petitto
on languages and concepts.  His Holiness analyzed
her findings from a Buddhist perception of language and thought.

Earlier in the morning His Holiness received a
warm welcome upon his arrival in Toronto from
Miami. The president of the Canadian Tibetan
Association of Ontario (CTAO), which is the host
of his visit, Mr. Norbu Tsering, came to receive
His Holiness in Ohio. On his arrival at Toronto
airport, His Holiness was welcomed by Toronto
Mayor David Miller, Kasur Lobsang Nyima, and
Board members of the CTAO while artists of the
Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre performed
traditional dances and songs at the tarmac.

"His work around the globe promoting peace,
understanding, tolerance, social justice and
equality for all is beyond compare," Mayor Miller
is quoted by the media as saying.

"He is quite a remarkable man, he blesses you,"
Mayor Miller is also quoted by Canada’s CTV News
as saying. "The last time, he held my hand and
laughed. He wants to spread joy and peace and
compassion and tolerance and understanding; those
are Toronto values," it added.

(Report filed by Bhuchung K Tsering)
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