Consciousness is an active area of both philosophical debates and scientific research. Consciousness Quest, rather than covering the broad spectrum of consciousness spread over multiple scientific disciplines, refocuses the quest for consciousness on a specific area where Eastern contemplative traditions, mostly in Hindu and Buddhist theories of mind, meet Western empirical research. This book is an introduction to current scientific thinking and research on consciousness and at the same time acquaints readers with the spectrum of classical and modern philosophical notions on consciousness.

Foundations of Mindfulness
Foundations of mindfulness

The origin of mindfulness lies in the eight noble paths of Buddhism that are recommended for bringing an end to suffering and ushering in joy. A sourcebook of mindfulness is Maha-satipatthana Sutta, a Buddhist text that discusses different levels of meditative concentration (dhyana in Sanskrit, jhana in Pali). Body, feelings, mind, and mental qualities are the four categories or the four major objects on which our attention can be focused during meditation. Mindfulness is an integrated state of alertness and remembrance. Mindfulness procedures, especially concerning insightful meditation (Vipashyan in Sanskrit, Vipassana in Pali), recommend focusing on the following issues:

  • Belief in permanence: It is a distortion. We can learn to deal with impermanence gracefully, but this occurs only when we ...
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