Contemplative Science: Where Buddhism and Neuroscience Converge / Edition 1

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B. Alan Wallace, renowned Buddhist scholar, integrates the contemplative methodologies of Buddhism and Western science into a single discipline: contemplative science. The science of consciousness investigates the mind through Buddhist contemplative techniques, such as shamatha, an organized, detailed system of training the attention. Just as scientists make observations and conduct experiments with the aid of technology, contemplatives have long tested their theories with the help of highly developed meditative skills of observation and experimentation.
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Editorial Reviews

Buddhadharma - Benjamin Bogin

[From] one of the most prominent voices in the discussions... Contemplative Science is a useful primer.

Boston Globe - George Scialabba

Wallace makes a strong case.

The Scientific and Medical Network - David Fontana

A copy should go to every scientist - both physical and contemplative - in the land.

Richard J. Davidson

Provocative, challenging, and engaging, Contemplative Science should be read by all serious students of the mind, scientists, contemplatives, and religious scholars alike. Alan Wallace has a breathtaking command of knowledge rooted in Buddhism but embracing the physical and cognitive sciences and most importantly informed by meditation practice. This book will help set the stage for a unique development in the twenty-first-century—a genuine collaboration between the contemplative traditions and Western science.

Paul Ekman

Contemplative Science is a must read for anyone interested in consciousness. Alan Wallace challenges neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and Buddhists, with lucid, provocative scholarship.

[From] one of the most prominent voices in the discussions... Contemplative Science is a useful primer.

— Benjamin Bogin

Boston Globe
Wallace makes a strong case.

— George Scialabba

The Scientific and Medical Network
A copy should go to every scientist - both physical and contemplative - in the land.

— David Fontana

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231138345
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/17/2006
  • Series: Columbia Series in Science and Religion Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

B. Alan Wallace spent fourteen years as a Buddhist monk, ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama. He then earned his undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College and his doctorate in religious studies from Stanford University. His Columbia University Press books are Hidden Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness; Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity; and Buddhism and Science: Breaking New Ground (editor). He is the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies (

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

1 Principles of Contemplative Science 1

2 Where Science and Religion Collide 28

3 The Study of Consciousness, East and West 50

4 Spiritual Awakening and Objective Knowledge 65

5 Buddhist Nontheism, Polytheism, and Monotheism 94

6 Worlds of Intersubjectivity 109

7 Śamatha: The Contemplative Refinement of Attention 135

8 Beyond Idolatry: The Renaissance of a Spirit of Empiricism 149

Notes 171

Bibliography 189

Index 197

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