Mind & Life XXVII - Craving, Desire and Addiction

The Mind & Life Institute is an initiative that aims to alleviate suffering and promote human flourishing. They aim to bring together scientists, contemplatives and scholars to deepen our understanding of the causes of suffering.

Part of their strategy is to hold dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This years dialogue focused on craving, desire and addiction. A group of scholars from the fields of neuroscience, Buddhism, Christianity, psychology, psychiatry and the social sciences gathered at Dharamsala to share their ideas and gain a deeper understanding of addiction.

The speakers were: Marc Lewis, Kent Berridge, Thupten Jinpa, Nora Volkow, Vibeke Asmussen Frank, Matthieu Ricard, Wendy Farley and Sarah Bowen. Brief biographies and their topics, as well as the program, can be downloaded here.

I have watched each of the talks and summarised them. None of this is my original work, but rather was done so that I can have a reference for myself, and I have made this available to you simply to help you choose which talks you may wish to watch in full and for academic purposes. All the videos are available in their entirety here. My summaries can be seen by clicking on the days below:

Day One
Marc Lewis - Craving, Dopamine and the Cycle of Addictive Behaviour 

Day Two
Kent Berridge - Brain Generators of Intense Wanting and Liking
Thupten Jinpa - Psychology of Desire: A Buddhist Perspective
Day Three
Nora Volkow -The Role of Dopamine in the Addicted Human Brain  
Vibeke Asmussen Frank - Beyond the Individual: The Role of Society and Culture in Addiction.

Day Four
Matthieu Ricard - From Craving to Freedom and Flourishing: Buddhist Perspectives on Desire 
Wendy Farley  - Contemplative Christianity, Desire and Addiction.  

Day Five
Sarah Bowen - Application of Contemplative Practices in Treatment of Addiction 


  1. As I've noted elsewhere, this is an astute, accurate, and accessible summary of what went on during that week. Shaun has done us a great service in taking the time and effort to build this "workshop" for all to use. Although I was present at the Dialogue, I will be referring to this post to help me tune into the core content presented there.

  2. Thanks for the kind words Marc - I hope it will be useful to all.

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