Journal of Contemplative Inquiry


The Dalai Lama’s model of secular ethics not only makes possible an understanding of contemplative practices within a wider ethical framework, but also helps to illuminate the important question of the relationship between contemplative practices and the religions within which they developed. This article explores that question and proposes an approach to the study of contemplative practices that examines the diachronic and synchronic relationships among embodied cognitive states and the “embodied cognitive logics” inherent in the theories and practices of contemplative traditions. Since secular ethics looks to common experience, common sense, and scientific findings, rather than metaphysics or religion, to ground ethical virtues and decision-making, recognizing that such virtues and prosocial emotions correspond to common embodied psychological realities can help us to understand how we can implement practices that enhance such virtues in secular educational settings.