This post-9/11 book offers a dialogue between Buddhism and science, as a group of twelve great minds--philosophers, neuroscientists and Buddhist monks--gather around some of the most challenging and age-old questions ever asked by any of their respective disciplines:

The Dalai Lama opens the encounter by pointing out that most human suffering finds its roots in destructive emotions such as hatred and greed. Buddhism teaches a wide variety of theoretical insights and practical methods to recognize and transform destructive emotions. What if scientific tests could prove the benefit of any of these methods? Wouldn't we then want to make them available to everyone, spiritual seeker or not?

Turn the page--and lo and behold, there is a lama in the lab! An MRI scan analyzes the brain activity of a Tibetan master in meditation, revealing his mind's extraordinary capacity to dwell in a constructive range, regardless of external stimuli: in contentment instead of craving, calm rather than agitation, compassion instead of hatred. Can we actually train our minds to overcome destructive emotions? Could practical, non-religious aspects of such training be part of every child's education?

Daniel Goleman, the New York Times bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence, writes a diary of the six-day-long Mind and Life conference that took place in Dharamsala, India, in March 2000, centered around the nature of destructive emotions--in Buddhists terms, the "Three Poisons": anger, greed and ignorance--and the pursuit of possible antidotes. The conversation is an intellectual feast of amazing discoveries and thrilling possibilities for our personal lives as well as our future as a species.

The most appealing part of the book, however, is the constant presence of the Dalai Lama, which weaves through every chapter. His radiant warmth, witty sense of humor and unquenchable thirst for truth make him a truly remarkable leader every spiritual networker will want to get to know more closely.

If lessening destructive emotions is on your to-do list, this book may be the perfect opportunity.

Paperback, 404 pages; $26.95;
Bantam Books