Main CategoriesBuddha and BuddhismWestern Buddhism Bridge of Quiescence, The

Number: 143 Page 14 of 143

Bridge of Quiescence, The

Product no.: 0-8126-9361-2
Wallace translates and comments upon Tsongkhapa's 15th century Small Exposition of the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment.

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Publisher's Synopsis

Consciousness is a riddle for Western science and philosophy, yet for centuries Tibetan Buddhist contemplatives have directly explored consciousness through carefully honed, rigorous techniques of meditation. This book brings together the findings of these Tibetan practitioners and the findings of Western scientists and philosophers on the nature of consiousness.

According to Tsongkhapa, enchancement and refining of one's attention is an indispensable prerequisite to fruitful introspective inquiry into the nature of the mind and of consciousness itself. The insights gleaned from such contemplative investigations can be used to identify and eliminate the inner sources of anxiety, frustration and discontent.

To make the implications of Tsongkhapa's thinking clear, B. Alan Wallace provides an outline of Tsongkhapa's outlook and assumptions. Western science, influenced by what Wallace calls "the cult of objectivity", neglected consciousness for 300 years, and then turned to the study of consciousness employing methods devised for investigating the external world of physical objects. Introspection has often been dismissed as futile or unscientific yet, Wallace contends, trained introspection may yield important knowledge of consciousness.

The Bridge of Quiescence provides valuable materials for the practice of meditation, and also affords a bridge from Eastern meditative practice to Western philosophy, science and religion. Wallace's discussion draws upon his knowledge of experimental psychology, such as the sensory deprivation studies, and relates Buddhist meditation to discussions of consciousness by such Western philosophers as William James, William Christian and John Searle.


"Wallace (religious studies, U. of California-Santa Barbara) was a Tibetan Buddhist monk for 14 years in India and Switzerland. He combines the findings of western scientists and philosophers on the nature of consciousness, with those of Tibetan practitioners of meditation as a means of exploring consciousness directly. He includes an account of the founder Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) and an original translation with commentary of his presentation of techniques."      ~Booknews


"From an outside perspective that does not fit simply into our Western categories of religion, science, or philosophy, Tsongkhapa presents the hypothesis that highly developed, sustained voluntary attention, when applied introspectively, may play a crucial role in fathoming the nature, origins, and potentials of consciousness. Indeed, it may be as important to cognition science as mathematics has been to the physical sciences.

The discipline he explains for stabilizing and refining the attention is one that acknowledges—and even highlights—the fallibility of the human faculty of introspection. But instead of responding by trying to exclude subjectivity from the investigation of reality, he suggests methods for developing and refining the mind so that it becomes a more reliable instrument of observation and analysis."

Author Wallace, B. Alan
Coauthor Tsongkhapa, Je
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 336 pp.
Publisher Open Court 1998
Browse these categories as well: Western Buddhism, Je Tsongkhapa and the Kadam/Gelug School, Vajrayana and Crazy Wisdom Masters, Termas, Tantras and Sutras, Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation, Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology

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Number: 143 Page 14 of 143