Interview on NPR 'To the best of our knowledge' December 2012
I am not a Buddhist. I have not signed up to any beliefs, joined
any groups, or taken any formal vows. This is mainly because I fear
that the memes of Buddhism can be as pernicious as those of any
religion and because I dislike dogma in any form. I mention this
because nothing I have written should be taken as having the authority
of a Buddhist. I do, however, value the Buddha's insight, the
teachings that have been handed down, and the practices I have been
I have been practising Zen for over twenty years. My main training
is in Chan, the tradition founded in China in the first century CE
when Buddhism arrived from India. Chan subsequently spread to Japan
where it became Zen.
I have done many retreats at the Maenllwyd; John Crook's retreat
house in mid Wales. I presented a half-hour documentary "A Place
of Silence" for Radio 4 about it in February 1998. I have also done some training in tantra and
mahamudra (Tibetan Buddhism). I have worked with the Bristol
Chan Group, Western
Chan Fellowship and have led retreats on meditation and memes.
Over the years I have found that my Zen practice and my scientific
work have converged in many ways. This connection is probably obvious
in my books The Meme Machine, and Consciousness. I also
wrote about its effects in the updated version of the Adventures
published as In Search of the Light in 1996.
Here are some other things I have done that draw on my Zen
Blackmore, S. 2011 Zen and the Art of
Consciousness, Oxford, Oneworld Publications, ISBN-10: 185168798X
(previously Ten Zen Questions)
Read some of the
listen to me discuss them.
Share your thoughts on the
Ten Zen Blog,
or visit my Zen blog at
Interview on NPR 'To the best of our knowledge' December 2012
won't be me. Conference on Science and Nonduality, Doorn,
Netherlands, June 2012. YouTube
my comments on
Alan Wallace's video "Universal Consciousness" as part of a Dutch TV
programme on his ideas.
Ten Zen Questions / Zen and the Art of
Consciousness - I talk about
BBC Radio 4 "A Place of
Silence", 3.2.98 and 8.2.98. A half-hour documentary about the
house in rural Wales
Contributions to Books
Blackmore, S.J. (2002)
Zen into science. In Neurotheology: Brain, Science, Spirituality,
Religious Experience, University Press, California, 159-160. A note
Blackmore,S.J. 1999 Waking from the Meme
Dream. In The Psychology of Awakening: Buddhism, Science and Our
Day-to-day Lives. Ed. G.Watson, S.Batchelor and G.Claxton; London,
Rider, 112-122. Also available in Italian and French at http://zenmontpellier.multimania.com/Meme.html
Blackmore,S.J. 1991 Beyond the Self: The Escape from Reincarnation.
In: Buddhism and Psychology In Reincarnation: Fact or Fable?
Ed. Berger,A.S. and Berger,J. Aquarian 1991 117-129
Blackmore,S.J. 1990 Mental Models and Mystical Experience. In: Space
in Mind Ed. J.Crook and D.Fontana, Shaftesbury, Dorset, Element
Blackmore,S.J. 1986 Who am I?: Changing models of reality in Meditation.
In: Beyond Therapy: The impact of Eastern religions on psychological
theory and practice Ed. G.Claxton, London, Wisdom, 1986 71-85
(Reprinted in 1996)
Blackmore,S.J. 2002 Meditation
as meme weeding. New Ch’an Forum, No 26, Summer 2002, 22-26
Blackmore,S.J. (2002) There is no stream of
consciousness. Journal of
Consciousness Studies, 9, 17-28
Blackmore,S.J. 1999 Meme, myself, I. New Scientist, 13 March,
Blackmore,S.J. 1998 Sai Baba - is he really the man of miracles?
New Chan Forum, No. 18, 19-20
Blackmore,S.J. 1995 Paying
New Ch’an Forum, No12. 9-15
Blackmore,S.J. 1992 The Question is - Who am I?
7. Exceptional Human Experience, 10, 167-170
Blackmore,S.J. 1991 Is meditation good for you? New Scientist, 6 July
Blackmore,S. 1999 Review of The Yogins of Ladakh by John Crook
and James Low, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6, 118-119
Blackmore,S.J. 1999 Review of The Authority of Experience: Essays
on Buddhism and Psychology. Edited by John Pickering. Buddhist
Studies Review, 16, 129-132
Blackmore,S.J. 1999 Art of letting go. Review of Zen and the Brain
by J.Austin, Times Higher Education Supplement, May 7, 30
Blackmore,S.J. 1995 Review of Noises from the Darkroom: The Science
and Mystery of the Mind by G.Claxton. Journal of the Society for Psychical
Research, 60, 274-275.
Blackmore,S.J. 1994. Demolishing the self: Review of Noises from the
Darkroom by G.Claxton. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 1, 280-282.
Blackmore,S.J. 1990 Review of Transformations of Consciousness
Engler and Brown and The Psychology of Meditation Ed. by M.West
of the Society for Psychical Research 56 98-100
Blackmore,S.J. 1987 Remembering or self-remembering: An essay review
of Charles Tart's Waking Up - overcoming the obstacles to human
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 54 268-272
She won't be me. Conference on Science and Nonduality, Doorn,
Netherlands, June 2012.
To be added
Blackmore, S. 2003 Now and Zen: A way out of Cartesian
Materialism. Toward a Science of Consciousness, Prague, 6-10 July.
Blackmore, S. 2003 A way out of illusion? Enactive
Consciousness, Seventh Annual Conference
of the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology section of the British
Psychological Society, Oxford June 28-9 2003
Blackmore, S. 2002 Look harder: Are you sure you have contents of
consciousness? Toward a Science of Consciousness, Tucson, AZ, April
Blackmore,S.J. Dismantling the selfplex: Memes machines and the
nature of consciousness. "Toward a Science of Consciousness 4".
Tucson, Arizona, April 10-15 2000 abstract
Blackmore,S.J. On the edge of the real, Perrott-Warrick Conference,
Cambridge, April 3-5 2000 abstract
Waking from the Meme Dream
The Psychology of Awakening: An International Conference on Buddhism,
Science and Psychotherapy, Dartington, 9 November 1996.
Panel Discussion with Guy Claxton, Stephen Batchelor, Thupten Jinpa
and Francisco Varela. The Psychology of Awakening: An International
Conference on Buddhism, Science and Psychotherapy, Dartington, 8 November
The revelation of no-self In Symposium Selfless Minds: The
Buddhist influence on cognitive science. British Psychological Society,
London Conference, 20 December 1994.
The self and reincarnation Buddhism and Cognitive Science; A
Sharpham Colloquium, Sharpham, Devon, October 1990
No-self in Buddhism and psychology "Being and Becoming" Colloquium,
Sharpham, Devon. April 1990
Dissolving Consciousness; Dissolving Self On the Meaning of
the Near-Death Experience, Flora, Norway, June 1989 (Invited Speaker)
Mental Models and Mystical Experience Eastern Approaches to
Mind and Self, BPS Welsh Branch, Cardiff, July 1986