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Meditation, Buddhism, and Science$
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David McMahan and Erik Braun

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190495794

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190495794.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 10 December 2019

Buddhism, Happiness, and the Science of Meditation

Buddhism, Happiness, and the Science of Meditation

Chapter:
(p.62) 4 Buddhism, Happiness, and the Science of Meditation
Source:
Meditation, Buddhism, and Science
Author(s):

William Edelglass

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190495794.003.0004

The widespread discourse of happiness and meditation is part of a “happiness turn” in contemporary Western Buddhism, in which meditation is presented as a path to happiness. This turn is justified, in part, by empirical research on happiness, which appears to be a straightforward scientific inquiry into the causes and conditions of happiness. The two most widespread methods for measuring happiness, life satisfaction questionnaires and random experience sampling, are each committed to a particular theory of happiness: implicit in the random experience sampling method is a hedonic conception of happiness as positive affect or pleasure. In contrast, Śāntideva suggests that cultivating mindfulness and awareness entails relinquishing of self and increasing skill in addressing others’ needs. This contrast demonstrates that the scientific study of meditation and happiness is not value neutral but reframes the meaning of meditation.

Keywords:   mindfulness, meditation, happiness, satisfaction questionnaire, random experience sampling, Śāntideva

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