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Contemplative Science: Where Buddhism and Neuroscience Converge [NOOK Book]

Overview

Science has long treated religion as a set of personal beliefs that have little to do with a rational understanding of the mind and the universe. However, B. Alan Wallace, a respected Buddhist scholar, proposes that the contemplative methodologies of Buddhism and of Western science are capable of being integrated into a single discipline: contemplative science.

The science of consciousness introduces first-person methods of investigating the mind through Buddhist contemplative ...

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Contemplative Science: Where Buddhism and Neuroscience Converge

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Overview

Science has long treated religion as a set of personal beliefs that have little to do with a rational understanding of the mind and the universe. However, B. Alan Wallace, a respected Buddhist scholar, proposes that the contemplative methodologies of Buddhism and of Western science are capable of being integrated into a single discipline: contemplative science.

The science of consciousness introduces first-person methods of investigating the mind through Buddhist contemplative techniques, such as samatha, 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 own theories with the help of highly developed meditative skills of observation and experimentation. Contemplative science allows for a deeper knowledge of mental phenomena, including a wide range of states of consciousness, and its emphasis on strict mental discipline counteracts the effects of conative (intention and desire), attentional, cognitive, and affective imbalances.

Just as behaviorism, psychology, and neuroscience have all shed light on the cognitive processes that enable us to survive and flourish, contemplative science offers a groundbreaking perspective for expanding our capacity to realize genuine well-being. It also forges a link between the material world and the realm of the subconscious that transcends the traditional science-based understanding of the self.

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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.
Buddhadharma
[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: 9780231510950
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 2/23/2007
  • Series: Columbia Series in Science and Religion
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 887,691
  • File size: 401 KB

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 (http://www.sbinstitute.com).

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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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