On the Neuroscience of Enlightenment

A Neuroscience of Enlightenment?

The field of contemplative science is rapidly growing and integrating into the basic neurosciences, psychology, clinical sciences, and society-at-large. Yet the majority of current research in the contemplative sciences has been divorced from the soteriological context from which these meditative practices originate and has focused instead on clinical applications with goals of stress reduction and psychotherapeutic health. In the existing research on health outcomes of mindfulness-based clinical interventions, for example, there have been almost no attempts to scientifically investigate the goal of enlightenment. This is a serious oversight, given that such profound transformation across ethical, perceptual, emotional, and cognitive domains are taken to be the natural outcome and principle aim of mindfulness practice in the traditional Buddhist contexts from which these practices are derived. If short-term interventions as short as a few sessi

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