Samatha meditation, the foundation of Tibetan Buddhist contemplative techniques, is devoted to achieving stability and vividness of the attention (Wallace, 1998). Opposing these objectives, there are several serious hindrances, including attentional laxity and excitation (e.g., wandering thoughts and mental chatter), which must be surmounted in order for attentional stability and vividness to be achieved. Consequently, scientific research on Buddhist meditation should investigate the nature of both the basic cognitive processes that underlie such hindrances and the executive cognitive control processes that may help alleviate them through diligent practice. This investigation can benefit from several sources of empirical and theoretical insight provided by Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, including: (1) the distinction between procedural and declarative knowledge; (2) the role of verbal working memory in self programming and self-monitoring; (3) the description of executive cognitive control in terms of modern computer science and computational modeling; and (4) the analysis of human information-processing capacities and limitations based on behavioral data about multi-tasking.
- SRI 14 sessions
- June 22, 2004Garrison, New York