Towards a Meditation Brain State Model for Scientific Study of Chan

Towards a Meditation Brain State Model for Scientific Study of Chan

Hong Lin (Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, University of Houston – Downtown, Houston, TX, USA), Johnathan Kuskos (Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, University of Houston – Downtown, Houston, TX, USA) and Manuel Palma (Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, University of Houston – Downtown, Houston, TX, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/ijacdt.2013010101
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Abstract

Meditation has clear effects in bringing practitioners’ mind into a tranquil state and promoting both the mental and the physical health. The effect of meditation is measurable. The authors propose to establish a model for meditation state by applying modern experimental sciences to brain wave data. The authors start with a project that aims to create an application that takes electroencephalographic (EEG) data and exposes it to various analytical techniques so the resultant brain states can be studied and predicted. The authors present explanations of the design and implementation offered herein. Furthermore, a summary of the application’s functionality is elucidated. Upon completion, the authors anticipate that this software can be used to produce important and dependable conclusions about a given subject’s brain states and correlate that to an identified physical or psychological activity. Although their project is still in an early stage towards a model for meditation, through these studies, the authors believe they will be able to make meditation a beneficial practice to promote human’s life in modern society.
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1. Introduction

Chan (Ch’an or Zen), originated as a methodology of spiritual meditation, has played an important role in the historyof Eastern countries. In recent centuries, with the fusion of various cultures in modern society, Chan has drawn attention of various ethnic groups for its focus on practice and direct effect on human’s lifestyles and health conditions. Chan itself has shown its religion neutral nature in the modern society. Chan is clearly a philosophy that impacts people’s view about the essence of science and relates scientific study to the contemplation of its performer–human. In recent years, term “life science” has been used to denote studies related to the understanding of human’s nature and seeking ways to harmonize human’s life with the environments.

While a lot of spiritual exercises involve meditation, for example, Yoga, Chan meditation differs from the others in that it emphasizes the acquisition of the insight to one’s life so as to be out of the control of any earthly desires and emotions such as anger. In other words, the acquisition of such wisdom (prajna) entails a life of total freedom.

As Chinese saying goes: Illness comes from heart (mind). The cause of illness is obsesses (desires) in mind, which cause greed, anger, and dumbness, which further cause physical anomaly. Desires in mind are caused by separating oneself from its environment. Buddhism’s twelve words of reasons describe the derivation of vexations as a sequence of the following: avidya (无明, obscure) causes progressing (行),progressing causes vijnana (识, memory), then name and beings (名色), six intakes (六入), touches (触), perceptions (受), sentiment (爱), pursuit (取), existence (有), living (生), aging and death (老死). These twelve words of reasons described how a person begins to identify himself and separates himself from the environment. Words in Bible described this process vividly. When man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, were made, they led a free life in Eden Garden. “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25) When Satan, the snake, allured Eve, he began by arousing her desire to become “wise.” The record of this event in Bible is:

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” ”You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. (Genesis 3:2-7)

As Mr. Zizhu Dong mentioned in his book “Eastern Interpretation of Bible” (Dong, 2007), this description is an in-parable account of the twelve words of reasons theory.

The meaning of “Adam,” the name of the first man, is “man.” God made man in his image and gave man a physical body. God is the Word, the perfect original form of life, and man is the “shadow” of God, the image of God made of dust. If God is “clear,” then man is “obscure” (This is the first word of reason in the chain), and man’s freedom in Eden Garden is progression (the second word of reason). In the following,

The sentence “saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye” indicates vijnana and name and beings.

And “saw” is eye intake, one of the six intakes (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and thinking).

“Pleasing to the eye” implies touches and perceptions.

“Desirable” is sentiment.

“Gaining wisdom, … took some and ate it,” isn’t pursuit?

“The eyes of both of them were opened,” they felt existence of themselves and the surroundings.

“Realized they were naked,” they gained the notion that they were living now.

Of course, Adam and Eve eventually died because living always implies aging and death.

Another interesting matter in Genesis is that the meaning of the name of the first son, Cain, of Adam and Eve is “gain,” which is naturally coupled with “pursuit.” What did Cain do? He killed his brother Abel. The name “Cain” therefore became a synonym of “killer.” According to the words of reasons, isn’t it very true that pursuit causes death? And this is what God warned at the beginning “you must not touch it, or you will die.”

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