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Buddhism and Science: Breaking New Ground

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Overview

Buddhism and Science brings together distinguished philosophers, Buddhist scholars, physicists, and cognitive scientists to examine the contrasts and connections between the worlds of Western science and Eastern spirituality. This compilation was inspired by a suggestion made by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, himself one of the contributors, after one of a series of cross-cultural scientific dialogues in Dharamsala, India, sponsored by the Mind and Life Institute. Other contributors such as William L. Ames, Matthieu Ricard, and Stephen LaBerge assess not only the fruits of inquiry from East and West but also shed light on the underlying assumptions of these disparate worldviews. Their essays creatively address a broad range of topics: from quantum theory's surprising affinities with the Buddhist concept of emptiness, to the increasing need in the West for a more contemplative science attuned to the first-person investigation of the mind, to the important ways in which the psychological study of "lucid dreaming" maps similar terrain to the cultivation of the Tibetan Buddhist discipline of dream yoga.

Reflecting its wide variety of topics, Buddhism and Science is comprised of three sections. The first presents two historical overviews of the engagements between Buddhism and modern science or, rather, how Buddhism and modern science have defined, rivaled, or complemented one another. The second describes the ways Buddhism and the cognitive sciences inform each other; the third addresses points of intersection between Buddhism and the physical sciences. On the broadest level this work illuminates how different ways of exploring the nature of human identity, the mind, and the universe at large can enrich and enlighten one another.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Buddhadharma
My brief remarks cannot do justice to the wide-ranging sweep of these papers and their thoughtful treatment of often difficult concepts. Wallace's volume is an important contribution to the emerging dialogue between Buddhism and science, and to the larger rapprochement between science and spirituality.

— Arthur Zajonc, Professor of Physics, Amherst College

The Scientific and Medical Network
Are religion and science completely autonomous, and hence incommensurable universes of discourse? Does the examination of meditation practice by scientific means dehumanise and despiritualise it? The importance of this book lies in the fact that it confronts questions such as these, and offers us a wide range of studies that... [show] ways in which seemingly diverse cultural traditions can enrich and enliven each other.

— John Clarke

Leonardo Reviews
...the book is a crucial work that provides a foundation for future efforts...

— Aparna Sharma

Theology and Science
An important contribution to the area of Buddhism and science.

— Richard K. Payne

Southeastern Naturalist

Qantum theory's affinities with the Buddhist concept of emptiness...and consciousness are amoung some of the enlightening and thought-provoking subjects explored in this book.

Inquiring Mind
Those drawn toward and committed to exploring contemplative practices firsthand in an open, dedicated and more rigorous fashion will find here assistance on their journey toward fulfillment.

— Marcia Howton

Buddhadharma - Arthur Zajonc

My brief remarks cannot do justice to the wide-ranging sweep of these papers and their thoughtful treatment of often difficult concepts. Wallace's volume is an important contribution to the emerging dialogue between Buddhism and science, and to the larger rapprochement between science and spirituality.

The Scientific and Medical Network - John Clarke

Are religion and science completely autonomous, and hence incommensurable universes of discourse? Does the examination of meditation practice by scientific means dehumanise and despiritualise it? The importance of this book lies in the fact that it confronts questions such as these, and offers us a wide range of studies that... [show] ways in which seemingly diverse cultural traditions can enrich and enliven each other.

Leonardo Reviews - Aparna Sharma

...the book is a crucial work that provides a foundation for future efforts...

Theology and Science - Richard K. Payne

An important contribution to the area of Buddhism and science.

Inquiring Mind - Marcia Howton

Those drawn toward and committed to exploring contemplative practices firsthand in an open, dedicated and more rigorous fashion will find here assistance on their journey toward fulfillment.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

B. Alan Wallace, founder and director of the Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Consciousness, studied physics as an undergraduate at Amherst College and received his Ph.D. in religious studies from Stanford University. Wallace trained for many years as a monk in Buddhist monasteries in India and Switzerland and has taught Buddhist theory and practice in Europe and America since 1976. He also served as interpreter for numerous Tibetan scholars and contemplatives, including the Dalai Lama. His other published works include Choosing Reality: A Buddhist View of Physics and the Mind, The Bridge of Quiescence: Experiencing Buddhist Meditation, and The Taboo of Subjectivity: Toward a New Science of Consciousness.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Buddhism and Science--Breaking Down the Barriers, by B. Alan WallacePart 1 Historical Context Buddhism and Science: On the Nature of the Dialogue, by Josc Ignacio CabezonScience As an Ally or a Rival Philosophy? Tibetan Buddhist Thinkers' Engagement with Modern Science, by Thupten JinpaPart 2 Buddhism and the Cognitive Sciences Understanding and Transforming the Mind, by His Holiness the XIV Dalai LamaThe Concepts "Self", "Person'', and "I'' in Western Psychology and in Buddhism, by David GalinCommon Ground, Common Cause: Buddhism and Science on the Afflictions of Identity, by William S. WaldronImagining: Embodiment, Phenomenology, and Transformation, by Francisco J. Varela and Natalie DeprazLucid Dreaming and the Yoga of the Dream State: A Psychophysiological Perspective, by Stephen LaBergeOn the Relevance of a Contemplative Science, by Matthieu RicardPart 3 Buddhism and the Physical Sciences Emptiness and Quantum Theory, by William L. AmesTime and Impermanence in Middle Way Buddhism and Modern Physics, by Victor MansfieldA Cure for Metaphysical Illusions: Kant Quantum Mechanics and Madhyamaka, by Michel BitbolEmptiness and Relativity, by David Ritz FinkelsteinEncounters Between Buddhist and Quantum Epistemologies, by Anton ZeilingerConclusion: Life As a Laboratory, by Piet HutAppendix: A History of the Mind and Life Institute

Columbia University Press

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