The Morality of Meditation

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

The Morality of Meditation

Postby Ben » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:46 am

Some will find this report in the New York Times, interesting:

The Morality of Meditation

But does meditation work as promised? Is its originally intended effect — the reduction of suffering — empirically demonstrable?

To put the question to the test, my lab, led in this work by the psychologist Paul Condon, joined with the neuroscientist Gaëlle Desbordes and the Buddhist lama Willa Miller to conduct an experiment whose publication is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science.

-- http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/opini ... html?_r=1&


Your considered thoughts, as always, are appreciated.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: The Morality of Meditation

Postby Zenainder » Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:15 pm

Ben wrote:Some will find this report in the New York Times, interesting:

The Morality of Meditation

But does meditation work as promised? Is its originally intended effect — the reduction of suffering — empirically demonstrable?

To put the question to the test, my lab, led in this work by the psychologist Paul Condon, joined with the neuroscientist Gaëlle Desbordes and the Buddhist lama Willa Miller to conduct an experiment whose publication is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science.

-- http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/opini ... html?_r=1&


Your considered thoughts, as always, are appreciated.
kind regards,

Ben


Good morning Ben,

I don't know your background when it regards sample size and truly understanding statiscal analysis and tools, but this one is a bit gapped. The pool size of 20 with an even smaller control group does not give us reliable data, but it may give us an idea of the trend. Not to mention, I am curious of how many would help an ailing man versus an ailing female, which culturally are more likely to receive help (at least in my observation).

Regardless, I will admit my own bias and like what they are concluding. Meditation works! Haha, although I didn't need an article to tell me that. I would like to see a more complete and thorough study with closer to at least 200 meditators and 200 non-meditators (control group). And instead of a male or female in distress, use a cat or dog with two other people ignoring the animal while waiting (something of that nature). I've found in my own practice my own levels of compassion for all beings increase and that'd be quite revealing (I think).

Thanks for sharing the article. Oh, I like how they point out how google is kind of misusing meditation for corporate gain; I can't blame them though lol.

Zen
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Re: The Morality of Meditation

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:26 pm

Very interesting.

It is often expressed in the teachings and commentaries that morality is a support for concentration, which is turn is a support for insight. These subjects might have gained the insight into interconnectedness through their meditation.

I would love to know whether doing one's best to be moral and keep the precepts for a while has a measurable impact on how easily one can become concentrated. I believe it to be so from my own experience; but would like to see it tested in this way...
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Re: The Morality of Meditation

Postby Ben » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:49 pm

Greetings Zenainder,

I posted a link to the article because I believed it would be of interest to some members here.
I did not author the article or the study that it reports. As for the efficacy of the statistical analysis - perhaps it is a point you can share with the study authors.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: The Morality of Meditation

Postby Zenainder » Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:05 am

Ben wrote:Greetings Zenainder,

I posted a link to the article because I believed it would be of interest to some members here.
I did not author the article or the study that it reports. As for the efficacy of the statistical analysis - perhaps it is a point you can share with the study authors.
kind regards,

Ben


It is and was of interests to dhamma wheel, I only shared my thoughts as you welcomed them.

Even kinder regards, ;-)

Zen
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Re: The Morality of Meditation

Postby Sylvester » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:13 am

Thanks Ben.

While I found the "interconnectedness" explanation a little too woolly for me, the study does "validate" what I have been suspecting about meditation, whether you call it samatha or vipassanā. It is the development of sammasankappa that seems to unfold and make a qualitative difference to one's inclination ex-sitting.

We haven't yet seen a trial sample of 400/2 as proposed by Zenainder, but an attempt was made with a group of 68+71 in the trial I posted previously - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156028/

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