The phenomenology of meditation

An Advaita approach

Authored by: Sthaneshwar Timalsina

Routledge Handbook on the Philosophy of Meditation

Print publication date:  May  2022
Online publication date:  May  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367647469
eBook ISBN: 9781003127253
Adobe ISBN:


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This paper argues that phenomenological reduction and the analytical meditation found in Advaita Vedānta (Vedic nondualism) have many aspects in common. Instead of setting apart the methods of secular sciences and that of yogic contemplation, the objective here is to explore ideas for a potential dialogue and exchange of insights between the two perspectives. This, however, is not an endeavor to discredit either or reduce one to the other. On the contrary, this is an attempt to further refine the scientific approach by engaging culturally different systems with a significant time difference between their appearances. The first problem we face in this effort is the divergence in terminology: None of the categories such as “meditation”, “Advaita”, or “phenomenology” have a single shared reference. This chapter limits its analysis to one simplified Advaita text, Dṛgdṛśyaviveka (DDV) of Vidyāraṇya (14th century) from the Advaita Vedānta tradition, and on the phenomenological side, to a few essential sections from Husserl and Finch. The broadest point implicit here for this Handbook is that this one narrowly restricted text, but one sample of the wealth of ancient Indian philosophies of meditation, has much to offer to the contemporary Western examination of the philosophy of meditation.

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