B. Alan Wallace

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B. Alan Wallace, Padma Samten, Marlene Rossi Severino Nobre, and Roberto Lúcio Vieira de Souza, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, 2009

Bruce[1] Alan Wallace (born 1950) is an American author and expert on Tibetan Buddhism. His books discuss Eastern and Western scientific, philosophical, and contemplative modes of inquiry, often focusing on the relationships he sees between science and Buddhism.[2] He is founder of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies.[3]

He has also founded the Center for Contemplative Research in Tuscany. This is a continuation of the Shamatha project. 60 participants meditated full-time for three months under his guideline. It lead to numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The aim of the new facility in Tuscany is to provide 21 self contained meditation cabins where highly qualified individuals can meditate full time for any period from months to years under his guidance and the guidance of other qualified instructions in Shamatha, using methods that have been developed in Eastern meditative traditions. The Buddhist descriptions are exceptionally clear[4]:

While the achievement of shamatha is not unique to the Buddhist tradition and does not require acceptance of any religious belief system, Buddhism does provide an exceptionally clear presentation of the stages of attentional and emotional development that lead to this state.

...Such sustained, professional meditation practice culminates in the full achievement of shamatha, in which the mind becomes single-pointedly focused inwards, withdrawn from the physical senses, and immersed in a state of bliss, luminosity, and inner stillness. This state can be sustained for hours on end. By accessing this subtle dimension of consciousness one taps into an inner source of genuine well-being and discovers the essential nature of consciousness, characterized by luminosity and cognizance.

The idea is for cognitive scientists to be involved from the beginning, using the objective measures of modern science, while the contemplatives map out what happens in terms of their own first-person experience.

he CCR is committed to training individuals in the practices of shamatha in collaboration with cognitive scientists, who will map these stages using the objective measures of modern sciences, while the contemplatives themselves map them in terms of their own first-person experience. The impact of such unprecedented contemplative and scientific collaboration could trigger a paradigm-shift in humanity’s understanding of the nature of genuine well-being and consciousness itself.

Life and career

In 1987, Wallace obtained a B.A. in physics, philosophy of science and Sanskrit from Amherst College, followed in 1995 by a Ph.D. in religious studies from Stanford University.[5] His doctoral dissertation was on The Cultivation of Sustained Voluntary Attention in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. He taught for four years in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.[6]

Wallace founded the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies in 2003.[7] Wallace and Clifford Saron then ran the Shamatha project, which tested the effects of buddhist mediation on 60 people they selected over 3 months..[8]

Since around 1990, Wallace has led workshops on dream yoga and has collaborated with Stephen LaBerge (Wikipedia).[9]

Selected works

Books on Buddhism and Science

  • Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic: A Manifesto for the Mind Sciences and Contemplative Practice, New York: Columbia University Press, 2011
  • Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009 (Also published in Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, and Tibetan translations)
  • Embracing Mind: The Common Ground of Science and Spirituality. Co-authored with Brian Hodel. Boston: Shambhala Publications, 2008 (Also published in Dutch and Spanish translations)
  • Hidden Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007 (Also published in Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, and Tibetan translations)
  • Contemplative Science: Where Buddhism and Neuroscience Converge. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007 (Also published in Portuguese, Korean, and Thai translations)
  • Buddhism and Science: Breaking New Ground. Edited by B. Alan Wallace. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003
  • The Taboo of Subjectivity: Toward a New Science of Consciousness. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000
  • Consciousness at the Crossroads: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Brain-science and Buddhism. Edited by B. Alan Wallace, Zara Houshmand & David Livingston. Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1999 (Also published in Dutch, Portuguese, Korean, Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian translations)
  • Choosing Reality: A Buddhist View of Physics and the Mind. Revised edition. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications, 1996. Re-edition of Choosing Reality: A Contemplative View of Physics and the Mind. Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1989 (Also published in French and Korean translations)

Books on Tibetan Buddhism

  • Dreaming Yourself Awake: Lucid Dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga for Insight and Transformation, Boston: Shambhala Publications, 2012
  • Stilling the Mind: Shamatha Teachings from Dudjom Lingpa's Vajra Essence, Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2011
  • Minding Closely: The Four Applications of Mindfulness, Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2011
  • The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind. Forward by Daniel Goleman. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2006 (Also published in Complex Chinese, Catalan, Italian, German, Indonesian, Portuguese, Romanian, Chinese, Spanish, and Mongolian translations)
  • Genuine Happiness: Meditation as a Path to Fulfillment. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2005 (Also published in Spanish and Russian translations) Buddhism with an Attitude: The Tibetan Seven-Point Mind-Training. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2001 (Also published in Dutch, Italian, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, and Korean translations)
  • The Four Immeasurables: Practices to Open the Heart. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2010. Re-edition of The Four Immeasurables: Cultivating a Boundless Heart, 2004; re-edition of Boundless Heart: The Four Immeasurables, 1999 (Also published in Italian, French, and Dutch translations)
  • Balancing the Mind: A Tibetan Buddhist Approach to Refining Attention. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2005. New edition of The Bridge of Quiescence: Experiencing Tibetan Buddhist Meditation. Chicago: Open Court Press, 1998 Tibetan Buddhism From the Ground Up. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1993 (Also published in Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, and Korean translations)
  • The Seven-Point Mind Training. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2004. Re-edition of A Passage from Solitude: A Modern Commentary on Tibetan Buddhist Mind Training. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 1992 (Also published in Italian translation)
  • Tibetan Tradition of Mental Development. Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey. Sherpa Tulku, trans. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, 1974, 1976, 1978; rev. eds. 1985 & 1992 (Also published in Italian translation)
  • Spoken Tibetan. Co-authored with Kerrith McKenzie. Mt. Pèlerin, Switzerland: Center for Higher Tibetan Studies, 1985


Search for videos:

Selected videos:

  • The Nature of Reality: A Dialogue Between a Buddhist Scholar and a Theoretical Physicist
    Description: Alan Wallace, a world-renowned author and Buddhist scholar trained by the Dalai Lama, and Sean Carroll, a world-renowned theoretical physicist and best-selling author, discuss the nature of reality from spiritual and scientific viewpoints. Their dialogue is mediated by theoretical physicist and author Marcelo Gleiser, director of Dartmouth’s Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement.

'Alan Wallace on The Center for Contemplative Research (CCR) in Tuscany

Description B. Alan Wallace on The Center for Contemplative Research (CCR) in Tuscany

To Read more: Center for Contemplative Research, Tuscany

See also


  1. "The Cultivation of Sustained Voluntary Attention in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism". PhilPapers. 1995. Retrieved July 19, 2016. 
  2. Paulson, Steve (November 27, 2006). "Buddha on the brain". Salon. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  3. "GENUINE HAPPINESS: Meditation as the Path to Fulfillment". Publishers Weekly
  4. Center for Contemplative Research, Tuscany
  5. Paulson, Steve (1 November 2010). Atoms and Eden: Conversations on Religion and Science. Oxford University Press. pp. 145–. ISBN 978-0-19-978150-8. 
  6. Alumni of Stanford's Buddhist Studies Program
  7. Komjathy, Louis (2015). Contemplative Literature: A Comparative Sourcebook on Meditation and Contemplative Prayer. SUNY Press. p. 149. ISBN 9781438457079. 
  8. "To make a killing in the markets, start meditating". Bloomberg News, by Katherine Burton and Anthony Effinger, via Financial Post, May 29, 2014.
  9. Stumbrys, Tadas (January 2013). "Book Review:Dreaming Yourself Awake – Lucid Dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga for Insight and Transformation, by B. Alan Wallace". International Journal of Dream Research 6(1):69-70. doi:10.11588/ijodr.2013.1.10038. 

External links

This article includes content from B. Alan Wallace on Wikipedia (view authors). License under CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikipedia logo