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Meditation, Buddhism, and Science


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: From Colonialism to Brainscans: Modern Transformations of Buddhist Meditation David L. McMahan and Erik Braun 2. How Meditation Works: Theorizing the Role of Cultural Context in Buddhist Contemplative Practices David L. McMahan 3. Looping Effects and the Cognitive Science of Mindfulness Meditation Evan Thompson 4. Buddhism, Happiness, and the Science of Meditation William Edelglass 5. Reflections on Indian Buddhist Thought and the Scientific Study of Meditation, Or: Why Scientists Should Talk More with Their Monks William S. Waldron 6. "Mind the Gap:" Appearance and Reality in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Joanna Cook 7. "Wherever You Go, There You . . . Aren't?" Non-self, Spirits, and the Concept of the Person in Thai Buddhist Mindfulness Julia Cassaniti 8. "Mindfulness Makes You a Way Better Lover": Mindful Sex and the Adaption of Buddhism to New Cultural Desires Jeff Wilson 9. Mindful but not Religious: Meditation and Enchantment in the Work of Jon Kabat-Zinn Erik Braun 10. Is Mindfulness Buddhist? (And Why It Matters) Robert H. Sharf

About the Author

David L. McMahan is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania. He is the editor of Buddhism in the Modern World and author of The Making of Buddhist Modernism and Empty Vision: Metaphor and Visionary Imagery in Mahayana Buddhism. Erik Braun is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He is the author of The Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw , which won a Toshihide Numata Book Award in Buddhism.


"there are insights into these issues throughout, and readers will be rewarded with different approaches to these issues, which are sure to remain ... With this volume, such readers will be able to assess for themselves the relative weight of these positions and how the trajectory of the scientific Buddhist meditation project should proceed." -- Edward Arnold, Sophia "Meditation, Buddhism, and Science is as imaginative as it is critical, and its authors deserve praise for pioneering new territory." --Michael Sheehy, Buddhadharma "This volume inspires one to re-read the classical Buddhist writings with a similarly critical eye to uncover their implicit messages." --Inken Prohl, Religion "Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers." -- Choice "This top-rate collection is essential reading for researchers of modern Buddhism and highly recommended for undergraduate and graduate classes on Buddhism in the West, religion and science, and religion and medicine." -- Ann Gleig (University of Central Florida), Religious Studies Review Vol. 44.1 "The editors are to be commended for ensuring that the essays are, by and large, brief and accessible, ensuring that the book will be digestible for researchers, students, and nonscholarly readers alike. Oxford's decision to release a reasonably-priced paperback copy of this book simultaneously with the hardcover is also appreciated. This alone is enough to ensure that this book will eclipse other scholarly introductions to the sociocultural dimensions of Buddhist meditation that are currently being sold at prohibitively expensive prices. Given these advantages of breadth, accessibility, and price, I am of the opinion that this book would be put to particularly good use in the classroom."--C. Pierce Salguero, Reading Religion "McMahan and Braun's multi-dimensioned collection grounds meditation practice in historical time and social place. The essays include historical, cultural, philosophical, textual, cognitive, psychological, and sociological critiques of the all-too-often decontextualized scientific study of meditation. These perspectives enable us to better understand how the complexities of lived human existence influence meditation practice and meditation experiences. Taken together the essays further demonstrate the importance of interdisciplinarity for the study of Buddhism."--Richard K. Payne, Yehan Numata Professor of Japanese Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies

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