Henry M. Vyner, M.D. M.A.

Henry M. Vyner, is a physician, psychiatrist, cultural anthropologist and writer who has dedicated thirty years of his career to doing in-depth research on the nature of a healthy human mind.  As the son of an academic psychiatrist, Dr. Vyner grew up in an environment where dinner table talk was often about Freud and the nature of the mind.

As a young man, while looking for a way to do research on what would become his life’s work – the nature of the healthy mind, he went on to also get a degree in cultural anthropology and completed a body of research on the psychological effects of ionizing radiation. During this period, Dr. Vyner served as Director of Research at the Radiation Research Institute in Berkeley, California.

While working at the Research Institute in Berkeley, Dr. Vyner came across the book Buddha Mind, which is a collection of writings by the 14th-century Dzogchen master Longchenpa, compiled by Tulku Thondup. Upon reading Buddha Mind, Henry M. Vyner found that this great Yogi-Scholar-Poet was actually describing many of the same phenomena that he himself had found crucial to understanding the healthy mind.

At the age of 42, Dr. Vyner left for Asia where he still serves as an adjunct professor at the national university of Nepal. It was the beginning of a long journey interviewing Tibetan lamas in villages and monasteries all over Nepal, Bhutan, Ladakh, Sikkim and India. During this period, Dr. Vyner was a visiting scholar twice at the University of California at Berkeley.

“I have been interviewing DzogChen lamas for over 30 years now about their experiences of their own mind. These interviews have been a joy and a gift from the universe. In our interviews I have been asking the lamas to describe their states of mind, and I have used DzogChen terminology to elicit those descriptions. For example, I might ask a lama to describe a gzhi-nang, which I translate as “primordial meaning.” Or I might ask a lama to describe the experience of de khona nyid togpa’i yeshe, which I translate as “suchness primordial wisdom.” I took the lama’s descriptions of their states of mind and turned them into a systematic modern science of the dual, nondual and predual phenomena that appear in the stream of consciousness. That science can be found in chapter six of one of my books – The Healthy Mind: Mindfulness, the True Self and the Stream of Consciousness. The next step was to derive maps of the structure and dynamics of both the natural mind (sems-nyid) and the egocentric mind (dag med gyi sems) from that science of the stream of consciousness. Then I compared those maps to determine which state of mind is healthier. My goal with this work has become that of changing humanity’s understanding of what a healthy mind is. As matters stand now, every society raises its young to have an egocentric mind — which is the cause, of course, of everyday emotional suffering. First Noble Truth. But more than that, the egocentric mind is also the ultimate cause of humanity’s identity-based socio-political conflicts: racism, misogyny, culture war, war between nation states and the like. In other words, we have mistakenly assumed, as a species, that the egocentric mind is a healthy mind. My goal with my work is to help create a body of science that will change our definition of the healthy mind so that we will all start bringing up our kids to have natural minds — a mind with an egoless ego. I believe that we can eliminate much of the suffering in the world if we could just accomplish that. It will take some time, but it will be worth the effort!”

Purchase Dr. Henry M. Vyner’s Books
The Healthy Mind: Mindfulness, the True Self and the Stream of Consciousness
Healthy Mind Interviews - The Dalai Lama, Lopon Tenzin Namdak and lopon Thekchoke (Volume IV)
Healthy Mind Interviews: Vol 3- With Khenpo Nyima Wangyal
Healthy Mind Interviews: Vol 2 -With Khenpo Tsewang Gyatso
The Healthy Mind Interviews VOL III (Lopon Tekchoke Book 3)
Healthy Mind Interviews: Vol 1- With Lopon Tegchoke