By establishing a dialogue in which the meditative practices of Buddhism and Christianity speak to the theories of modern philosophy and science, B. Alan Wallace reveals the theoretical similarities underlying these disparate disciplines and their unified approach to making sense of the objective world.
Wallace begins by exploring the relationship between Christian and Buddhist meditative practices. He outlines a sequence of meditations the reader can undertake, showing that, though Buddhism and Christianity differ in their belief systems, their methods of cognitive inquiry provide similar insight into the nature and origins of consciousness.
From this convergence Wallace then connects the approaches of contemporary cognitive science, quantum mechanics, and the philosophy of the mind. He links Buddhist and Christian views to the provocative philosophical theories of Hilary Putnam, Charles Taylor, and Bas van Fraassen, and he seamlessly incorporates the work of such physicists as Anton Zeilinger, John Wheeler, and Stephen Hawking. Combining a concrete analysis of conceptions of consciousness with a guide to cultivating mindfulness and profound contemplative practice, Wallace takes the scientific and intellectual mapping of the mind in exciting new directions.
Excerpts from review by: By Matthew J. Schimpf (Niagara Falls, NY) Mr. Wallace does a Yeoman’s job of condensing, polishing, explaining and reviewing ancient contemplative theories & practices; from both Buddhist and Christian perspectives and then uses modern science (quantum physics and neuroscience) to elucidate and flesh out the nature of the archaic but extremely relevant wisdom.
Between rigorously researched historical accounts and postulations of meditative principles, we are treated to exercises with which to practice and integrate those principles. This was quite a boon for me as my next step on the path is to learn and practice some form of meditation, and this book went a considerable distance in whetting my appetite.
The author articulates some very excellent, wise and cogent rationale as to why materialist/reductionist philosophy is just as stagnating, dogmatic and possibly harmful as the medieval R.C. Church and their insistence on the Ostrich maneuver. I think Mr. Wallace would agree fanaticism – any fanaticism – is at least counterproductive and at most, deadly. A Mind that is in balance will serve the world, its people and its master far more productively and joyfully than one in an impulsive, fanatical frenzy…
This work is replete with lucid argument and wonderful, (nearly breathtaking) detailed explanation as to the congruencies and parallels between Eastern & Western contemplative traditions and modern, that is to say: quantum physics.
“Mind in the Balance” is now in my top three favorites of all time, easily a must read 5 plus star effort.