Posts Tagged ‘neuroscience’

8/26 Practice Circle: Getting Out of Default Mode

I have tended to give concentration practice short shrift. To me, devotion to intense concentration – jhana practice, long sesshins, and the like – seemed like spiritual calisthenics, meditation for its own sake, another skill to attach the ego to. Coming out of the vipassana-influenced MBSR tradition, I thought the tangible benefits of exploring the…

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Practice Circle: Cultivating Compassion

This is to be done by one skilled in aims Who wants to break through To the state of peace: . . . As a mother would risk her life To protect her child, her only child, Even so should one cultivate a limitless heart With regard to all beings. Khuddakapatha 9, trns Thanissaro Bhikkhu…

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Practice Circle: Relax

I think every contemplative technique I’m aware of involves at least some degree of relaxation. The practices I was taught in MBSR all begin with bringing awareness to areas of tightness and holding in the body and inviting them to relax; the Body Scan, which is the first technique one learns in MBSR, consists of…

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Waking Up: A Review

I still remember my excitement on encountering, in Sam Harris’ first book, The End of Faith, the suggestion that it would be possible to enjoy many of the benefits which people had traditionally sought from religion without the need to embrace religion itself.  Buddhist meditiation was one of the practices Harris mentioned as a specific example of wisdom that…

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What is Metta?

With good will for the entire cosmos, Cultivate a limitless heart: Above, below, & all around, Unobstructed, without hostility or hate Whether standing, walking, Sitting, or lying down, As long as one is alert, One should be resolved on this mindfulness. This is called a sublime abiding, here and now. This is from Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s…

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If Not-Self Then What?

The Buddha’s teachings on not-self truly are impressive, especially when you consider those were times in which people were immersed in beliefs about the supernatural, an essence of self that is everlasting, and a multitude of gods. For Buddha to point out the parts of the body as not self, the emotions as not self,…

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Buddhism Vs. Neuroscience

Long before my interest in Buddhism, I was fascinated by how our brains work, how thoughts arise, how consciousness works, and where this feeling of self comes from. In my opinion, going back to childhood, I’ve never seen the brain and body as separate, but instead two integrated systems. My interest in neuroscience was partly…

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