Embracing Mind: The Common Ground of Science and Spirituality

Overview

What is Mind? For this ancient question we are still seeking answers. B. Alan Wallace and Brian Hodel propose a science of the mind based on the contemplative wisdom of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Christianity, and Islam.

The authors begin by exploring the history of science, showing how science tends to ignore the mind, even while it is understood to be the very instrument through which we comprehend the world of nature. They then propose a contemplative science of mind based ...

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Embracing Mind: The Common Ground of Science and Spirituality

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Overview

What is Mind? For this ancient question we are still seeking answers. B. Alan Wallace and Brian Hodel propose a science of the mind based on the contemplative wisdom of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Christianity, and Islam.

The authors begin by exploring the history of science, showing how science tends to ignore the mind, even while it is understood to be the very instrument through which we comprehend the world of nature. They then propose a contemplative science of mind based on the sophisticated techniques of meditation that have been practiced for thousands of years in the great spiritual traditions. The final section presents meditations that are of universal relevance—to scientists and people of all faiths—for revealing new dimensions of consciousness and human flourishing.

Embracing Mind moves us beyond the dogmatic debates between theists and atheists over Intelligent Design and Neo-Darwinism, and it returns us to the vital core of science and spirituality: deepening our experience of reality as a whole.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book shows clearly and compellingly how Buddhism and other spiritual traditions may help enrich our understanding of the mind and its role in nature, without reducing it merely to a material function or property of the brain.”—H. H. the Dalai Lama

“Any scientist serious about his or her avocation will find this book a thought-provoking and rewarding read. Wallace and Hodel make a very reasonable point: since the mind is a primary instrument that allows scientific theory and understanding to occur, should not a thorough and rigorous study of all aspects of that instrument itself be undertaken in order to better assess scientific theory and understanding? This provocative and beautifully written book is absorbing and well worth reading for anyone interested in delving into the nature of things.”—Elizabeth Blackburn, Recipient of the Albert Lasker Award for Medical Research

“In these few pages Wallace and Hodel cover the whole spectrum of Buddhism and science—from the moving narrative of Alan's life through the fallacies of scientific materialism, and on to the heart of the ancient Buddhist science of consciousness and how it speaks to the modern sciences of the mind. An invaluable introduction to the story of science and Buddhist contemplative inquiry.”—Philip Clayton, Ingraham Professor, Claremont School of Theology, and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science “A tour de force.”—Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, Professor of Medicine emeritus, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and author of Coming to Our Senses

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590306833
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/23/2008
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,052,530
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

B. Alan Wallace has authored, translated, edited, and contributed to more than forty books on Tibetan Buddhism, science, and culture. With fourteen years as a Buddhist monk, he earned a BA in physics and the philosophy of science and then a PhD in religious studies. After teaching in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he founded the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies (http://sbinstitute.com) to explore the integration of scientific approaches and contemplative methods.
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Table of Contents

Preface B. Alan Wallace vii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xvii

Part 1 What's Wrong with This Picture? 1

1 A Shotgun Wedding-The Marriage of Science and Christianity 3

2 When You Least Expect It-Materialism Undermined 27

3 When Believing Is Seeing-How Belief Influences Perception 53

4 The Mind behind the Eyepiece-Limits on Scientific Objectivity 71

5 Masquerade-Scientific Materialism Poses as Science 86

Part 2 Consciousness-Completing the Picture 109

6 Coming Full Circle-And Meeting the East 111

7 Deciding What's True-Objectivity and Empiricism in Contemplation 130

8 Illuminating the Black Boxes of Mind and Matter 148

9 Science and Contemplation-Probing the Mind Together 164

10 A Science of Consciousness? One Provocative Example from the Buddhist Tradition 180

Part 3 Tools and Technologies of a Buddhist Science of Contemplation 203

11 Shamatha-Meditative Quiescence 205

12 Vipashyana-Insight Meditation 213

13 The Great Perfection 219

14 "Complementary" Practices 222

Notes 227

Glossary 235

Bibliography 243

Index 247

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