Eastern and Western Contributions to "Contemplative Science"
meditation, contemplative science, Alan Wallace
Even the most casual survey of the various professional journal articles and books dedicated to the study of the nature, value, use, and benefits of meditation, in general, as well as the emerging field of the scientific study of contemplation reveals that this is one of the most active and promising arenas in the comparative study of Eastern and Western thought and practice. Yet, even though there are many facets of meditative practices that are common to both traditions, the contemporary Western tradition may be distinguished, in one way, from its Eastern counterpart by its current and ongoing collaboration with both the hard sciences and the social sciences. Recently, however, this openness to cooperation and working with the sciences has begun to spread to Eastern practitioners. In fact, Buddhist scholar B. Alan Wallace observes in Contemplative Science, "[...] there are [...] historical roots to the principles of contemplation and of science that suggest a possible reconciliation and even integration between the two approaches." Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Wallace is correct about this, the purpose of this paper is to offer an analysis and critique of the speculative/theoretical and practical/scientific possibilities of "contemplative science" and the unique contributions of both the Eastern and Western traditions to this emerging science.
Enrahonar: Quaderns de Filosofia