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<p>This dissertation examines the development of theories about meditative practices and their soteriological goals in Indian Buddhist thought. It traces this development from the earliest stage accessible to us as far as the systematizations of Asanga and Vasubandhu in the fifth century AD. The first two chapters apply the techniques of form-criticism to the first four Nikayas of the Pali canon in an attempt to isolate the types of meditative technique described in this literature. The preliminary attempts at systematization in the Samannaphalasutta and Mahasatipatthanasutta are subjected to detailed analysis. It is found that a wide variety of techniques are recommended in this literature, that these techniques cannot easily be combined into a coherent system of soteriological practice, and that the attempts to so combine them in the Nikayas are frequently inconsistent with each other. The third chapter analyzes in detail Vasubandhu's contribution to this issue as seen in the path-structure set forth in the Abhidharmakosabhasya. Substantial sections of that work are translated, together with the commentaries of Yasomitra and Sthiramati. The fourth chapter analyzes the margasatya section of Asanga's Abhidharmasamuccaya, and gives a complete edition and translation of this section of the work, together with its bhasya, based on the surviving Sanskrit fragments and the Tibetan translation. It is found that the attempts of Asanga and Vasubandhu to resolve the tensions uncovered in the first two chapters are neither fully successful nor compatible with one another. The fifth chapter relates the findings of the first four chapters to current psychological research on the effects of meditative techniques, and discusses in outline the epistemological implications of these findings. It is found that the tensions apparent in the Buddhist texts are reflected in large part by the empirical findings of psychological studies, and that the epistemological implications of these findings have not been properly understood, either by Buddhist philosophers or contemporary psychological theorists.</p>

A pioneer in East-West and interreligious dialogue issues an invitation to a world spirituality. Panikkar stresses the intense personal and societal reassessment that comes from a serious encounter with world religious traditions, its affront to Western parochialism and to modern thinking. This volume gathers some of Panikkar's best writing.
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<p>Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism fundamentally rethinks the nature of the transgressive theories and practices of the Buddhist Tantric traditions, challenging the notion that the Tantras were "marginal" or primitive and situating them instead -- both ideologically and institutionally -- within larger trends in mainstream Buddhist and Indian culture. Critically surveying prior scholarship, Wedemeyer exposes the fallacies of attributing Tantric transgression to either the passions of lusty monks, primitive tribal rites, or slavish imitation of Saiva traditions. Through comparative analysis of modern historical narratives -- that depict Tantrism as a degenerate form of Buddhism, a primal religious undercurrent, or medieval ritualism -- he likewise demonstrates these to be stock patterns in the European historical imagination. Through close analysis of primary sources, Wedemeyer reveals the lived world of Tantric Buddhism as largely continuous with the Indian religious mainstream and deploys contemporary methods of semiotic and structural analysis to make sense of its seemingly repellent and immoral injunctions. Innovative, semiological readings of the influential Guhyasamaja Tantra underscore the text's overriding concern with purity, pollution, and transcendent insight -- issues shared by all Indic religions -- and a large-scale, quantitative study of Tantric literature shows its radical antinomianism to be a highly managed ritual observance restricted to a sacerdotal elite. These insights into Tantric scripture and ritual clarify the continuities between South Asian Tantrism and broader currents in Indian religion, illustrating how thoroughly these "radical" communities were integrated into the intellectual, institutional, and social structures of South Asian Buddhism.</p>

<p>This thesis is composed of two parts, one a translation, the other a commentary on the material that has been translated--a set of three well known identically entitled works by the famous Indian Buddhist scholar, Kamalasila (c. 740-795 C.E.). The Bhavanakramas are here translated from both Sanskrit and Tibetan sources. The commentary takes the form of an extended critical Prologue to the texts and is centred around an examination of the notions of meditation and insight as found therein. The first chapter of the commentary examines the various terms for meditation found in the texts and argues for a specific way of translating them that regards as normative only one of these, that is, bhavana . The argument is made that if one is to take the basic Buddhist distinction between intellectual and experiential wisdom seriously, no other concept of meditation will prove satisfactory. The concept of bhavana is contrasted with that of dhyana , and explained in light of other important terms, notably samadhi, samatha and vipasyana . Two different conceptions of samadhi are identified as existing within the texts, one corresponding with dhyana and one with bhavana . The latter is identified as predominant. This conception holds that meditation is not to be principally identified as non-conceptual in nature, but rather encompasses both nonconceptual states and conceptual processes. These latter, however, are not to be identified with ordinary reasoning processes ( cintamayi prajña ) but rather with a form of experiential knowing (bhavanamayi prajña, vipasyana ) that is conceptual in nature. It is in accordance with this conception that the actual translation of the texts has been undertaken.</p>

<p>This article explores Asian traditions of meditation, with particular attention to Buddhism as it was developed in ancient India. It delineates a core curriculum, initially developed in monastic institutions of higher education, that has been most fully preserved in Tibet. It then explores how this curriculum might be adapted so that it can help support a genuinely humanistic education within American higher education. This exploration focuses not only on the inherent values of Buddhist meditation but also on practical strategies that can be used to introduce these values in the academic curriculum and in the broader campus life.</p>

Many studies in humans suggest that altered temporal lobe functioning, especially functioning in the right temporal lobe, is involved in mystical and religious experiences. We investigated temporal lobe functioning in individuals who reported having transcendental "near-death experiences" during life-threatening events. These individuals were found to have more temporal lobe epileptiform electroencephalographic activity than control subjects and also reported significantly more temporal lobe epileptic symptoms. Contrary to predictions, epileptiform activity was nearly completely lateralized to the left hemisphere. The near-death experience was not associated with dysfunctional stress reactions such as dissociation, posttraumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse, but rather was associated with positive coping styles. Additional analyses revealed that near-death experiencers had altered sleep patterns, specifically, a shorter duration of sleep and delayed REM sleep relative to the control group. These results suggest that altered temporal lobe functioning may be involved in the near-death experience and that individuals who have had such experiences are physiologically distinct from the general population.
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