B. Alan Wallace, renowned Buddhist scholar, integrates the contemplative methodologies of Buddhism and Western science into a single discipline: contemplative science. The science of consciousness investigates the mind through Buddhist contemplative techniques, such as shamatha, an organized, detailed system of training the attention. Just as scientists make observations and conduct experiments with the aid of technology, contemplatives have long tested their theories with the help of highly developed meditative skills of observation and experimentation. Contemplative science allows for a deeper knowledge of mental phenomena, and its emphasis on strict mental discipline counteracts the effects of conative (intention and desire), attentional,cognitive, and affective imbalances. Just as behaviorism, psychology, and neuroscience shed light on the cognitive processes enabling us to survive and flourish, contemplative science offers a groundbreaking perspective for expanding our capacity to realize genuine well-being. It also forges a link between the material world and the realm of the subconscious, transcending a traditional science-based understanding of the self.
In his previous book, The Attention Revolution, bestselling author Alan Wallace guided readers through the stages of shamatha, a meditation for focusing the mind. In Stilling the Mind, he uses the wisdom of Dzogchen--the highest of all the meditation traditions--to open up the shamatha practice into a space of vast freedom. Here, Wallace introduces us to Dudjom Lingpa's Vajra Essence, one of the most cherished works of the Nyingma school from which Dzogchen stems. With his trademark enthusiasm and keen intelligence, Wallace makes obscure concepts intelligible to contemporary readers and allows us to glimpse the profound realizations of a great nineteenth-century spiritual adept.
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