© 2016

The Sense of Self

Perspectives from Science and Zen Buddhism


  • Integrates a broad range of disciplines to provide new insights into the nature of the self

  • Explores how the brain cultivates a sense of an independent self

  • Combines a multidisciplinary scientific approach with the ancient wisdom of Zen Buddhism


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Richard W. Sears
    Pages 1-15
  3. Richard W. Sears
    Pages 17-40
  4. Richard W. Sears
    Pages 61-87
  5. Richard W. Sears
    Pages 89-131
  6. Richard W. Sears
    Pages 133-162
  7. Richard W. Sears
    Pages 163-174
  8. Richard W. Sears
    Pages 175-190
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 191-198

About this book


At the heart of this book is one of the most ancient and profound question philosophers, spiritual seekers, and curious individuals have pondered since the beginning of history:  “Who am I?” Advances in modern science, and access to Zen tradition, have provided us  with broader and richer understanding of this topic. 
Over the chapters the author, a psychologist and Zen master, investigates how the brain fosters a sense of an independent self, situating his research in the contexts of neuroscience, ecology, evolution, psychology, and of the principles Eastern wisdom traditions. The book explores a broad range of insights from brain science, evolutionary biology, astronomy, clinical psychology, thoughts and emotions, mental health disorders, and Zen Buddhism. 
This book will appeal to psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counsellors, and researchers of Eastern traditions. General readers interested in the functioning of the brain wil
l discover practical ways to integrate fascinating new findings on an age-old question into their everyday life.


Buddhism clinical psychology cognition cognitive psychology identity mind neuropsychology philosophy psychology religion Self

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Clinical Mindfulness & MeditationCincinnatiUSA

About the authors

Richard W. Sears, PsyD, PhD, MBA, ABPP is a clinical psychologist and Zen master, and is Director of the Center for Clinical Mindfulness & Meditation, Cincinnati, Ohio, US. He is the author of 10 books, including Mindfulness: Living through Challenges and Enriching Your Life in this Moment. His website is

Bibliographic information

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“Sears highlights the phenomenon of felt separation and offers a smorgasbord of intellectual insight into how it got there. This book will find a home on the shelf of those interested in how Buddhism intersects with science and in undergraduate classes addressing the intersection of psychology and religion.” (Frederick J. Heide, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 62 (19), May, 2017)