Tarka #003

When Science meets Contemplation


What is Contemplative Science?

Contemplative Science integrates the study of mindfulness and compassion with the latest research in the fields of psychotherapy and neuroscience.  Innovative developments in this field are moving beyond early attempts at scientifically examining the effects of meditation through western, scientific analysis.  More recently, researchers are taking into consideration a broader perspective of meditation, including its philosophical and scientific foundation that is rooted in a Buddhist worldview.  Thus, rather than forcing the study of meditation to fit a scientific worldview, the articles in this issue of Tarka look at a broader scientific study of meditation that accounts for both the remarkable, positive results of meditation and the technical understanding of the body and mind (rooted in Buddhist metaphysics) that have supported the cultivation of meditation practice for centuries.

Furthermore, as Joe Loizzo, points out in the first article, “What is Meditation Research? A Comprehensive Overview,” the contemplative state can be cultivated and accessed through a variety of practices originating in different religious worldviews. So, developments in the field of Contemplative Sciences will also be enriched by an interreligious, historical study of contemplative states.  In an era where financial constraints are driving many Universities to finally create bridges between formally isolated departments, the current scope of Contemplative Sciences that broaches inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural studies is both cutting edge and timely.

The articles in this third issue of Tarka introduce and engage the growing field of Contemplative Science.  They were initially published along side the lecture series, Radical Healing: Alternative Approaches to Health and Well-Being.  They also compliment the course, Buddhist Psychology and Contemplative Psychotherapy offered by Joe Loizzo. If you are interested in this programing it is available on the “Learn” section of the Embodied Philosophy website.

~ Stephanie Corigliano, Tarka Managing Editor