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Chattering Mind

On Wednesday, I mentioned Sam Harris’s blog post about scientists partaking in a group meditation retreat. Later that afternoon, I spied a provocative article by Harris called ‘Taking the Religion Out of Buddhism’ touted on the cover of the March 2006 Shambhala Sun (an incredibly good magazine, by the way). Shambhala Sun’s website doesn’t yet feature this excellent piece, so look for it on newstands or in your local health food store. So rich in fresh thinking is this article, it was hard to pull out a few excerpts, but here are two:

“The wisdom of the Buddha is currently trapped within the religion of Buddhism. Even in the West, where scientists and Buddhist contemplatives now collaborate in studying the effects of meditation on the brain, Buddhism remains an utterly parochial concern. While it may be true enough to say (as many Buddhist practitioners allege) that ‘Buddhism is not a religion,’ most Buddhists worldwide practice it as such, in many of the naive, petitionary, and superstitious ways in which all religions are practiced. “

“…once we develop a scientific account of the contemplative path, it will utterly transcend its religious associations. Once such a conceptual revolution has taken place, speaking of ‘Buddhist’ meditation will be synonymous with a failure to assimilate the changes that have occurred in our understanding of the human mind.”

Fascinating material. Please check it out.

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