Empathy, Intimacy, Attention, and Meditation An Introduction Sandra Costen Kunz Phillips Theological Seminary On October 31, 2008, at the American Academy of Religion's annual meeting, the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies sponsored a well-attended afternoon session titled "Cognitive Science, Religious Practices, and Human Development: Buddhist and Christian Perspectives." This issue of Buddhist-Christian Studies contains three of the papers presented: Wesley J. Wildman's "Cognitive Error and Contemplative Practices: The Cultivation of Discernment in Mind and Heart," Noreen Herzfeld's "`Your Cell Will Teach You Everything': Old Wisdom, Modern Science, and the Art of Attention," and Robert Aitken's " `Who Hears?' A Zen Buddhist Perspective." Each paper addresses in some way the connections between meditation and accurate perception. Wildman traces how cognitive errors rooted in innate perceptual biases give rise to mistaken beliefs and self-defeating behaviors. He highlights various ways religious practices both promote and ameliorate common cognitive errors. He claims some meditation practices are particularly effective in amelioration. While Wildman's paper gives detailed attention to various types of cognitive errors and ways to curb them, Herzfeld's and Aitken's papers have, in some ways, a broader focus. Both include material that suggests that meditation can clear, sharpen, and steady the overall perceptual
Buddhist-Christian Studies – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Oct 17, 2009
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