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  Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic: A Manifesto for the Mind Sciences and Contemplative Practice
By: B. Alan Wallace

Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic


 
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Author: B. Alan Wallace
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780231158343
Publication Date: Nov. 2011

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Product Code: 17603
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Description About the author Contents
 
Renowned Buddhist philosopher B. Alan Wallace reasserts the power of shamatha and vipashyana, traditional Buddhist meditations, to clarify the mind's role in the natural world. Raising profound questions about human nature, free will, and experience versus dogma, Wallace challenges the claim that consciousness is no more than an emergent property of the brain with little relation to universal events. Rather, he maintains that the observer is essential to measuring quantum systems and that mental phenomena (however conceived) influence brain function and behavior.

Wallace embarks on a two-part mission: to restore and then transcend human nature. Part I explains the value of skepticism in Buddhism and science and the difficulty of merging their experiential methods of inquiry. Yet Wallace emphasizes that Buddhist views on human nature and the possibility of free will free us from the metaphysical constraints of scientific materialism. He then explores the radical empiricism inspired by William James and applies it to the four schools of Indian Buddhist philosophy and the Great Perfection school of Buddhism. Since Buddhism begins with the assertion that ignorance lies at the root of all suffering and the path to freedom is reached through knowledge, Buddhist practice can be viewed as a progression from agnosticism (not knowing) to gnosticism (knowing), acquired through exceptional mental health, mindfulness, and introspection. Wallace discusses these topics in detail, identifying similarities and differences between scientific and Buddhist understanding, and concludes with an explanation of shamatha and vipashyana and their potential for fathoming the nature, origins, and potentials of consciousness.

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