Buddhist Meditation and the Modern World

Introduces students to (i) the history of Buddhist contemplative traditions in India and Tibet (meditation, yoga, mindfulness, visualization, etc.), (ii) innovations in scientific research on understanding such contemplative practices, (iii) recent adaptations of such practices in multiple professional and personal areas, and (iv) the practices themselves through brief secular contemplative exercises.

Sessions

Eligible for

Statement of Accomplishment

Course at a Glance

About the Course

Buddhist Meditation & the Modern World introduces students to (i) the history of Buddhist contemplative traditions in India and Tibet (meditation, yoga, mindfulness, visualization, etc.), (ii) innovations in scientific research on understanding such contemplative practices, (iii) recent adaptations of such practices in multiple professional and personal areas, and (iv) the practices themselves through brief secular contemplative exercises. The course will be co-taught by David Germano and Kurtis Schaeffer, and will be include extensive contributions from scientists, people involved with integrating in practice, and Tibetan Buddhist teachers. 

The class’s goals are (i) to explore Buddhist meditation practices in their cultural contexts, (ii) investigate scientific research on meditation’s dynamics, (iii) survey contemporary secular applications (healthcare, K-12 education, entrepreneurship, creativity, etc.), and (iv) learn meditation firsthand through exercises drawn from contemporary secular applications. To do this course utilizes five rubrics that blend the study of tradition and modernity, humanities and sciences, theory and practice:


Tradition: learn the original practices, their origins, their institutional contexts, and their deep relationships to philosophy, community, and ways of life.

Research: learn the scientific exploration of these practices and the neurological, biological, and psychological mechanisms of their effects, as well as research into their impact in specific contexts.

Innovation: learn about how based upon such research, people are innovating to create new secular practices adapted from these traditions. 

Engagement: learn about how people are deploying and engaging with such new adaptations in an astonishingly varied array of fields and areas

Practice: learn secular contemplative practices, both cognitive and physical, in a Contemplative Lab.