Contemplation in Contexts: Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Across the Boundaries of the Humanities and Sciences

This talk explores a central challenge in contemplative sciences: the roles of so-called “contexts” in contemplation and the possibility of consilience between the humanities and sciences in contemplative research. It will focus on a specific contemplative tradition, namely Tibetan Buddhist practices, to address this in a deeply contextual manner. This is particularly appropriate given that it constitutes one of the world’s most diverse contemplative traditions that is also the subject of considerable scientific investigation and scholarly analysis. In its discourses and practices of emptiness and interdependent origination, Buddhism explores the way each thing in the world has constitutive threads trailing off into impossible complexities. Contemplation is no exception, with endless numbers of constitutive “contexts” for each practice and experience that far escape our scope of understanding. Given the central and constitutive character of contexts, it raises questions about our too-quick decisions about what is core and context in contemplative research. The talk will explore 12 different contexts — contexts that are often prescribed in detail in traditional literature — and argue that scientists and practitioners alike tend to take contemplation out of such “contexts”, thus making assumptions that throw our subsequent conclusions into question in the process

David Germano, PhD

University of Virginia

David Germano, PhD, teaches and researches Tibetan and Buddhist Studies atthe University of Virginia. He is the director of UVA’s Contemplative Sciences Center as well as UVA Tibet Center, the … MORE

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ISCS 2014 – Keynote – David Germano

Mind and Life Institute • November 1, 2014

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom