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Cracking the Buddhist Code: A Contemporary Theory of First-Stage Awakening

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The theory proposes that what Buddhists call 'awakening' is equivalent to 'pure perceptual experience' or the awareness our perceptual systems would present to us if they acted without interference from our symbol-processing systems. Two forms of interference are particularly apt to interfere: uncontrolled inner speech and the distortion of perception to fit reified conceptual structures. Uncontrolled inner speech has been linked with hyperactivity in the default mode network (DMN), which occurs when attentional demands are low. Reification occurs universally as children construct their own social reality from the culture into which they are born. Both the DMN and reification are products of evolutionary processes, trapping us in social reality and preventing us from entering perceptual reality. Research indicates that both sources of interference can be overcome through special practices and training, however, and people who have experienced 'first-stage awakening' report a pattern of features that is consistent with the theory.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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