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Buddhadharma : Summer 2015
W 75 review by marissa Krimsky reviews (Left) Albarrán Cabrera, The Mouth of Krishna, Japan, 2014 | #241, Palladium print how consciousness works What qualifies as consciousness? How do we work with our under- standing of it? And where can this exploration take us? The examina- tion of consciousness and dreams is the focal point of Evan Thompson’s innovative work, Waking, Dreaming, Being. Thompson, a philosopher of the mind who specializes in cognitive and contemplative sciences, draws on both Eastern and Western insights to offer a thought-provoking work on the intersection of neuroscience, Indo-Tibetan philosophy, and Western philosophy. By encouraging an expe- riential understanding through the use of experiments and contemplative practices, Thompson makes didactic theories of consciousness accessible. When we reflect on our own con- sciousness, we come to realize that our experience of consciousness is entangled with our perceptions of the external world and our internal states. One of the most comprehensible contemporary theories of conscious- ness suggests a fluid idea of what we tend to think of as the stable, central “self.” Instead of identifying our self and labeling it as “I,” we come to find that there is no single part of our- selves that constitutes “I.” The idea of a multidimensional self has existed for centuries, even prior to the Buddha (for example, throughout the Upani- shads), yet Western philosophers such as William James have expounded on this theory significantly. Further,