Episode 264 :: Shinzen Young :: The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works

| December 4, 2016 | 2 Comments


Shinzen Young

Shinzen Young joins us to speak about The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works.

Hi, everyone. Before we begin today’s episode, I would like to mention that this podcast and the supporting website, discussion forums, our live, online Practice Circle and other services provided by the Secular Buddhist Association are supported by you. If you find this episode or any other offerings helpful to you in some way, I ask that you take a moment and visit secularbuddhism.org, and click on the Contributions button. There are many ways you can help which are listed on that page, and if you make a donation, it’s tax deductible and it helps ensure the SBA is able to continue the exploration of secular Buddhism. Thank you; we’re glad to have you join us in the conversation.

What does enlightenment mean to you? Opinions may vary from a traditional view of the complete extinguishing of samsara, to a more secular interpretation about the attenuation of reactivity. And to make it more complex and interesting, these are not necessarily mutually exclusive concepts, though of course the devil’s in the details. But the fact remains if you’re on a Buddhist path, enlightenment has pinged your radar, and what that means to you is a valid question.

Shinzen Young became fascinated with Asian culture while a teenager in Los Angeles. Later he enrolled in a PhD program in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Eventually, he went to Asia and did extensive training in each of the three major Buddhist traditions: Vajrayana, Zen and Vipassana. Upon returning to the United States, his academic interests shifted to the burgeoning dialogue between Eastern meditation and Western science. Shinzen is known for his innovative “interactive, algorithmic approach” to mindfulness, a system specifically designed for use in pain management, recovery support, and as an adjunct to psychotherapy. He leads meditation retreats throughout North America and has helped establish numerous mindfulness centers and programs. He also consults widely on meditation-related research, in both the clinical and the basic science domains. He often says: “My life’s passion lies in exploring what may arise from the cross-fertilization of the best of the East with the best of the West.”

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice Asura’s Enlightenment tea.



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Music for This Episode Courtesy of Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of this podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. You can visit his website to hear more of his music, get the full discography, and view his upcoming tour dates.

Category: The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science. He has been a meditator since the early 90’s, has been interviewed for Books and Ideas, Mindful Lives, and The Whole Leader podcasts, spoken about mindfulness with various groups including Harvard Humanist Hub, and has written for Elephant Journal and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA’s official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Ted’s background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, where he is the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development.

Comments (2)

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  1. Mariehtp Mariehtp says:

    I don’t know why I had never read about nor heard Shinzen Young. Just knew his face and name. This podcast was a total revelation. What a jewel of a man. By the end of the podcast, I had downloaded his book. And I am watching all his videos. He is digging a little deeper than our honorable Massachusetts teachers, just when I needed a little boost to get me out of my rut. Thank you, Ted, for bringing him in.

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