Contemplative Studies

Contemplative Studies is an emerging interdisciplinary field dedicated to research and education on contemplative practice and contemplative experience, including the possible relevance and application to a wide variety of undertakings.

One approach to Contemplative Studies emphasizes the development of awareness in each and every area of inquiry, including teaching and learning. From this perspective, contemplative practice might encompass art, dance, movement awareness, photography, theatre and so forth.

A more narrowly focused and religious studies approach seeks to map the entire breadth and depth of contemplative practice and experience as documented within and transmitted by religious adherents and communities.

In either case, Contemplative Studies recognizes the importance of third-person, second-person and critical first-person approaches; it makes space for direct personal experience with specific forms of practice. In this way it challenges the denial of embodied experience and subjectivity within much of academic discourse and brings the issue of religious adherence in religious studies into high relief.

As currently developed, the primary methodology in Contemplative Studies focuses on neuroscientific and clinical psychological studies of Buddhist meditation (so-called "contemplative science"), especially Theravada Vipassana, Japanese Zazen and various forms of Tibetan Buddhist meditation, as well as secularized, medicalized and scientized analogues. 

Read Contemplative Studies: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).