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This book introduces the multidisciplinary intersection of neuroscience, psychology, psychotherapy and ancient Eastern wisdom traditions; and offers profound insight into the field of contemporary science and public health. To explicate the rise of compassion-based practice and mindfulness-based interventions, the content includes contributions from scholars, researchers, and practitioners, including Robert Thurman, Daniel Siegel, Tara Brach, Paul Fulton, Sharon Salzberg, Rick Hanson, Christopher Germer, Pilar Jennings, and Mariana Caplan.
Traditional medical systems, like those preserved in Asia, pose a challenge because they involve theories and practices that strike many conventionally trained physicians and researchers as incomprehensible, even nonsensical. Should modern medicine continue to dismiss these systems as unscientific, therefore worthy of debunking rather than serious study; view them as sources of alternatives, possibly effective but hidden in a matrix of prescientific custom and belief; or do they represent something like a complementary science of medicine? We make the latter argument using the example of Indo-Tibetan medicine. Indo-Tibetan medicine is based on analytic models and methods that are rationally defined, internally coherent, and make testable predictions, therefore meeting current definitions of "science." The possibility of multiple, complementary sciences is a consequence of certain findings in physics that have led to a view of science as a set of tools-instruments of social activity that depend on learned agreement in aims and methods-rather than as a monolith of absolute objective truth. Implications of this pluralistic view of science for medical research and practice are discussed.