First human head transplant could take place next year

First human head transplant could take place in the UK next year, maverick surgeon says

Professor Sergio Canavero has also unveiled a virtual reality system that will get his patient ready for his new body

Hmmm… I’m wondering whose personality will take the body if this head transplantation is working? If the head takes the personality, then will Visuddhimagga theory of hadayavatthu (which is located near heart) as place of consciousness be proven as wrong?

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well, in abhidhamma it is said that mind is dwelling in the hadaya vattu . but to my knowledge,psychologists doesn’t accept this concept. this is a very serious dilemma and i just can’t arrive at a definite conclusion. though abhidhamma is an apparent later development we cannot deny this concept of the hadaya vattu. though the brain is totally out of function it is possible to stay alive. but when the heart fails to function the organism will no longer be able to survive. to me the brain and the heart are two essential aspects of the mind. my interpretation is that the brain performs the task of perceiving and identifying (sanna etc.)and the heart is responsible for other complex functions of the mind .

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Good point Seniya.

The concept of heart and solar plexus being an important location for our spiritual tasks can indeed be an important one.

In Thai language what in English we call the mind and sometimes heart is usually rendered in the compound ‘chit-jai’ (จิตใจ) which is literally “mind-heart”. I can’t recall any Thai expression which infers one’s mind to be located in the head!

It was indeed an interesting discovery to learn that this is something that comes from the commentaries of the Abhidhamma.

If I am not wrong, at least in the Dhammayut side of the Thai Forest Tradition, a beginner is always instructed to bring his repetition of the mantra bud-dho down from his/her head, or mind, to his heart, around the solar plexus:

For example, in concentration we knew that it was centered in the middle of the chest. Our awareness was pronounced right there. The stillness was pronounced right there. The brightness, the radiance of the mind was pronounced right there. We could see it clearly without having to ask anyone. All those whose minds have centered into the foundation of concentration find that the center of ‘what knows’ is really pronounced right here in the middle of the chest. They won’t argue that it’s in the brain or whatever, as those who have never experienced the practice of concentration are always saying.

Source: Straight from the Heart - Talks on Meditation by Ajahn Maha Boowa

The brain, for instance, is a lump of matter. The brain is merely an instrument that human consciousness uses. When the citta enters into a deep state of calm and concentration, the conscious awareness that is normally diffused throughout the body simultaneously converges from all areas of the body into one central point of focus at the middle of the chest.

The knowing quality manifests itself prominently at that point. It does not emanate from the brain. Although the faculties of memorization and learning arise in association with the brain, direct knowledge of the truth does not.

Step by step, beginning with the initial stages of samadhi practice, progress in meditation is experienced and understood in the heart—and only in the heart. This is where the truth lies, and the meditator who practices correctly knows this each step of the way. When it comes to understanding the true nature of all phenomena, the brain is not a factor—it is not useful at all.

The citta’s serene and radiant qualities are experienced at the heart. They emanate conspicuously from that point. All of the citta’s myriad aspects, from the grossest to the most subtle, are experienced clearly from this central spot. And when all defiling influences are finally eliminated from the citta, it is there that they all cease.

Source: The Path to Arahantship, by Ajahn Maha Boowa

This understanding and mode of practice may have been influenced by the assumption that the connection between mind and body (nama & rupa) takes place in that part of our bodies.

I therefore share your curiosity: would the reference point still be there but now projected on a new body ?


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i don’t think this currently can succeed

just imagine the complexity of the task of making the nervous system transmit signals from the head to the transplanted body and connection of the skull with the spinal column and the neck muscles

has there been any success in doing this at least on animals?

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Thank you Raivo

this quotation is just golden :smile:

Head transplants have been successfully performed on dogs, monkeys and rats by surgeons, although all the animals were unable to move and died shortly afterwards.

the author adheres to a peculiar definition of success