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Research on the Buddhist Practice of Emptiness with William Van Gordon

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William Van Gordon, PhD, is a Chartered Psychologist who lectures and conducts research in psychology at the University of Derby in the United Kingdom. He sits on the editorial board for various academic journals including Mindfulness and Mindfulness and Compassion.
He is also co-editor of two academic anthologies: Mindfulness and Buddhist-derived Approaches in Mental Health and Addiction, and The Buddhist Foundations of Mindfulness. William has over 100 academic publications relating to the scientific study of meditation. Prior to joining academia, William was a Buddhist monk for ten years.

Here he describes a multi-year research project involving advanced Buddhist meditators who were able to enter into a particular state of consciousness known as emptiness. This is something of a paradoxical state involving an investigation of the nature of the "self". A year was spent selecting and recruiting meditators who were skilled in this practice. Detailed descriptions were collected of this unusual state of consciousness. A battery of psychometric tests revealed that "emptiness" produced more profound changes in these meditators than did "mindfulness".

New Thinking Allowed host, Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, is author of The Roots of Consciousness, Psi Development Systems, and The PK Man. Between 1986 and 2002 he hosted and co-produced the original Thinking Allowed public television series. He is the recipient of the only doctoral diploma in "parapsychology" ever awarded by an accredited university (University of California, Berkeley, 1980). He is past-vice-president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, and is the recipient of the Pathfinder Award from that association for his contributions to the study of consciousness.

(Recorded on September 26, 2019)

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