375. Shinzen Young, 2nd Interview

Shinzen Young is an American mindfulness teacher and neuroscience research consultant. His systematic approach to categorizing, adapting, and teaching meditation has resulted in collaborations with Harvard Medical School, Carnegie-Mellon University, and the University of Vermont in the burgeoning field of contemplative neuroscience.

Shinzen’s interest in Asia began at the age of 14 when he decided to attend a Japanese ethnic school in his native city of Los Angeles. After majoring in Asian languages at UCLA, he entered a Ph.D. program in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin. As a part of his thesis research, he lived as a Shingon (Japanese Vajrayana) monk for three years at Mount Koya, Japan. It was then that he received the name Shinzen (真善). Also during that time, he became friends with Father William Johnston (author of Christian Zen). Fr. Johnston helped broaden Shinzen’s interests to include comparative world mysticism and the scientific study of meditative states.

Upon returning to the United States, his academic interests shifted to the dialogue between Eastern meditation and Western science. Shinzen is known for his interactive, algorithmic approach to mindfulness, and often uses mathematical metaphors to illustrate meditative phenomena.

Shinzen leads residential retreats throughout North America. In 2006, he created the Home Practice Program. These phone-based mini-retreats are designed to make deep meditation practice accessible to anyone in the world regardless of their location, health situation, and time or financial constraints.



Transcript of this interview

First BatGap interview with Shinzen.

Interview recorded 11/26/2016

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction to Buddha at the Gas Pump
  • 00:03:16 – Introduction to Shinzen’s Work
  • 00:07:04 – The Scientific Method: Breaking Down the Basic Elements
  • 00:11:24 – The Sword and the Book in Buddhism
  • 00:16:21 – Vivid Experiences and the Laws of Physics
  • 00:22:19 – Analyzing the Dimensions of Mindfulness
  • 00:31:49 – The Potential of New Discoveries
  • 00:41:08 – The Marriage of Spirituality and Technology
  • 00:50:01 – Different fields of the same elephant
  • 00:55:19 – The Effortlessness of Concentration
  • 00:58:49 – Elevating Concentration without Effort
  • 01:03:06 – Who or what becomes enlightened?
  • 01:07:29 – The Circuits of Meditation
  • 01:12:54 – Enlightenment and Phenomenal Experience
  • 01:18:56 – The Oneness of Experience
  • 01:23:50 – Navigating the Power Realms and Surrendering to the Formless Source
  • 01:33:07 – Balancing Effort and Surrender in Practice
  • 01:38:49 – Equanimity and Surrender
  • 01:41:48 – Developing a Fully Modern Delivery System
  • 01:45:58 – Enhancing Enlightenment with Brain Hacks
  • 01:52:59 – Suspending the Obstacles to Primordial Perfection
  • 01:57:23 – Experiment and Hypotheses
  • 02:02:31 – Exploring the Possibilities of Virtual Lesions for Enlightenment
  • 02:06:58 – Exploring Neurological Conditions and Enlightenment
  • 02:10:52 – The State of Absolute No-Self
  • 02:15:27 – Basal Ganglia System and Thymormic Syndrome
  • 02:20:51 – The Model Disease
  • 02:25:12 – Industrial Strength Brain Technology
  • 02:29:29 – Awakening Coma Patients with Ultrasound Technology
  • 02:32:57 – The Marriage of the Century
  • 02:35:08 – Wrap-Up and Gratitude