What happens to our consciousness at the time of death?

In Tibetan Buddhism, the boundaries between life and death are far more blurry than we consider them to be in contemporary Western culture. In a mysterious phenomenon known as tukdam, Tibetan Buddhist monks and spiritual masters have been shown to remain conscious for days after the breath ceases and the heart stops beating. The bodies of those who achieve this deep state of meditative awareness decompose at a slower rate, in some cases avoiding decay for weeks.  

This sacred practice has sparked much fascination and debate, and the Dalai Lama has been asking scientists to study tukdam for nearly 20 years. Now, these scientific investigations are well underway. World-renowned neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson, a longtime friend of the Dalai Lama, and his team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison founded The Tukdam Project and published the first peer-reviewed paper on tukdam in 2021. 

On Friday, April 14, Dr. Davidson joins Tricycle to discuss the mysterious phenomenon of tukdam and to share stories and insights from the scientific quest to understand it. Bring your questions! 

This event is free for Tricycle Premium subscribers and $10 for general admission. Subscribe to Premium or upgrade your existing subscription for free access.

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Dr. Richard Davidson

Richard J. Davidson, PhD is William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder & Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also Founder and Chief Visionary for Healthy Minds Innovations, Inc.

Davidson received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology in 1976. Davidson’s research is broadly focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style and methods to promote human flourishing including meditation and related contemplative practices. He has published over 602 articles, numerous chapters and reviews and edited 17 books. He is the author (with Sharon Begley) of The Emotional Life of Your Brain, published in 2012 and co-author with Daniel Goleman of Altered Traits, published in 2017. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2006. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2017 and appointed to the Governing Board of UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development
(MGIEP) in 2018. In 2014, Davidson founded the non-profit, Healthy Minds Innovations, which translates science into tools to cultivate and measure well-being.


  • Date: April 14, 2023
  • Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET
  • Format: Zoom webinar
  • Price: Premium subscribers: Free // General admission: $10