"My vision for Mind and Life going forward will be for our organization to serve as a catalyst, convener, and community builder for the field of contemplative sciences. "
- Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD
What is the of ISCS?
Mind and Life emerged in 1987 from a meeting of three visionaries: Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama — the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and a global advocate for compassion; Adam Engle, a lawyer and entrepreneur; and Francisco Varela, a neuroscientist. While the trio understood that science had become the dominant framework for investigating the nature of reality — and the modern source for knowledge that could help improve the lives of humans and the planet — the three regarded this approach as incomplete. Whereas science relies on empiricism, technology, “objective” observation, and analysis, the Dalai Lama, Engle, and Varela were convinced that well-refined contemplative practices and introspective methods could, and should, be used as equal instruments of investigation — instruments that would not only make science itself more humane but also ensure its conclusions were far-reaching. Mind and Life was formed to bridge this divide and advance progress in human well-being.
What is the mission of Mind and Life?
"The mission of the Mind & Life Institute is to alleviate suffering and promote flourishing by integrating science with contemplative practice and wisdom traditions." The Mind & Life Institute is a non-profit institution dedicated to building a scientific understanding of the mind in order to reduce suffering and promote well-being.
Programs, work and research:
The Institute has become a direct funder of individual research via its grant and scholarship programs. It convenes an annual Summer Research Institute, as well as the field’s marquee biennial conference: the International Symposium for Contemplative Studies. In the process, Mind and Life has become more than just a leader in the field of contemplative science; it has become an incubator for discovery in all of the fields this new science touches.