Mind, Brain, Consciousness
Welcome to the SamādhiEEG website
Samādhi is usually translated as Concentration. In Buddhism, it is the eighth path factor, samma-samādhi (right concentration) of the Noble Eightfold Path, and it is the sixth of the seven Bojjangas, or Factors of Enlightenment. In the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali it is the final eighth limb. In Buddhist texts the development of samma-samādhi is intimately linked to developing the jhānas, or stages of meditative absorption.
EEG is short for electroencephalogram, which is a recording of the brain’s electrical activity (brainwaves) using multiple sensors placed across the head. It has been used clinically for many years in studies of brain abnormalities such as epilepsy, but is also a powerful tool to investigate consciousness itself, and the interrelationship of mind-brain.
Over the last 30 years there have been many EEG studies of meditation, but most of these have been of open relaxation modes of practice, with very few studies of the more focused concentrative meditation practices. Notable exceptions have been a study of Zen masters as long ago as 1966, a few studies of highly experienced Tibetan meditators since 2001, and a recent (2010) study of a group of monks from Achaan Cha’s forest tradition based in Italy (that study, however, used fMRI rather than EEG).
In August 2010, a pilot study of EEG recordings of Samatha meditators was carried out during a meditation retreat in Wales held at the national meditation centre of The Samatha Trust (www.samatha.org), and it is the results of that study that have led to developing this website. Samatha, or Calm Abiding, is a term used for a group of Buddhist meditative practices that lead to the development of the jhānas and Samādhi.
This website will describe some of those early results, and will take a cross-discipline approach that aims to bridge meditation/spirituality, neurology and mental health, as well as insights from physics and particularly quantum physics. The site will be regularly updated as new results become available.
The discussion of jhānas on this website is largely based on experience within a Thai-Cambodian meditation tradition introduced to England in 1963 by Nai Boonman, and which led to formation of the Samatha Trust (UK registered Charity No. 266367, 1973). Descriptions offered are always a work in progress.
Material from this website may be copied or reproduced freely for personal use or for educational or not-for-profit organisations, provided acknowledgement is given to this site, including a direct URL link to this site. Any other use or publishing requests require the permission of the website owner, in which case contact firstname.lastname@example.org A shortened version of some of this material has recently been published under the title “Quantum Mind: Meditation and Brain Science”, by Rama 9 Temple, Bangkok, to commemorate the 2600 year anniversary of the Buddha’s Enlightenment.12
The website logo is a combined view of the Antennae Galaxies, taken in 2011 by the ALMA Radio Telescope Array and the Hubble Space Telescope. Superposed is an EEG recording of the brain wave activity of a Samatha meditator recorded in 2010.
Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO). Visible light image: the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
(Reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution License)
© 2012, samadhieeg.org.uk