The Journal of Contemplative Studies (JCS) is a peer-reviewed open access journal publishing original research and scholarship on issues and topics related to the world’s contemplative traditions. JCS is published by the Contemplative Sciences Center at the University of Virginia.

Latest Articles

Dr. Gibberish G. Gibberish, Dr. Faux F. Faux

2021

Nonsensical research papers generated by a computer program are still popping up in the scientific literature many years after the problem was first seen, a study has revealed. Some publishers have told Nature they will take down the papers, which could result in more than 200 retractions. The issue began in 2005, when three PhD students created paper-generating software called SCIgen for “maximum amusement”, and to show that some conferences would accept meaningless papers. The program cobbles together words to generate research articles with random titles, text and charts, easily spotted as gibberish by a human reader. It is free to download, and anyone can use it. By 2012, computer scientist Cyril Labbé had found 85 fake SCIgen papers in conference proceedings published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE); he went on to find more than 120 fake SCIgen papers published by the IEEE and by Springer (C. Labbé and D. Labbé Scientometrics94, 379– 396; 2013).

Modern Psychology and Ancient Wisdom

Eleanor Criswell, Kartikeya C. Patel

2016
This chapter explores the raja yoga tradition of Hinduism and it is a spiritual tradition within Hinduism as such it does not require allegiance to a theistic deity. The methodology of yoga psychology can be divided into two categories: theoretical and experiential. The theoretical category includes the exploration of the essential nature of the human psyche. The experiential category consists of various practices that are tremendously helpful in the gradual development of the self and Self-realization. Yoga-based psychotherapy enables the person to develop somatically. The therapist can assess the degree to which the client be a good candidate for a yoga-based psychotherapeutic approach. The majority of the therapeutic/medical uses of yoga have to do with medical complaints such as hypertension, asthma, diabetes, and so forth. Ancient India adopted a system of psychospiritual training that spanned the life of the individual. Indian science-through exchange of scholars, cooperative research projects, and energetic exchange of literature-has increasingly identified with contemporary worldwide scientific tradition.

Thinking about Animals in the Age of the Anthropocene

Tønnessen, Morten, Oma, Kristin Armstrong, Rattasepp, Silver

2016
The term “Anthropocene”, the era of mankind, is increasingly being used as a scientific designation for the current geological epoch. This is because the human species now dominates ecosystems worldwide, and affects nature in a way that rivals natural forces in magnitude and scale. Thinking about Animals in the Age of the Anthropocene presents a dozen chapters that address the role and place of animals in this epoch characterized by anthropogenic (human-made) environmental change. While some chapters describe our impact on the living conditions of animals, others question conventional ideas about human exceptionalism, and stress the complex cognitive and other abilities of animals. The Anthropocene idea forces us to rethink our relation to nature and to animals, and to critically reflect on our own role and place in the world, as a species. Nature is not what it was. Nor are the lives of animals as they used to be before mankind´s rise to global ecological prominence. Can we eventually learn to live with animals, rather than causing extinction and ecological mayhem?

Effects of mindfulness-based therapy for patients with breast cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Zhang, Jun, Xu, Rui, Wang, Bo, Wang, Jinxia

2016
ObjectiveTo quantify the effects of mindfulness-based therapy (MBT) on physical health, psychological health and quality of life (QOL) in patients with breast cancer. Method Studies were identified through a systematic search of six electronic databases. Randomized control trials (RCTs) examining the effects of MBT, versus a control group receiving no intervention on physical health, psychological health and QOL in breast cancer patients were included. Two authors independently assessed the methodological quality of included studies using a quality-scoring instrument developed by Jadad et al. and extracted relevant information according to a predesigned extraction form. Data was analysed using the Cochrane Collaboration’s Revman5.1. Result Finally, seven studies involving 951 patients were included. While limited in power, the results of meta-analysis indicated a positive effect of MBT in reducing anxiety [SMD −0.31, 95% CI −0.46 to −0.16, P < 0.0001], depression[SMD −1.13, 95% CI −1.85 to −0.41, P = 0.002], fear of recurrence[SMD −0.71, 95% CI −1.05 to −0.38, P < 0.0001], and fatigue[SMD −0.88, 95% CI −1.71 to −0.05, P = 0.04] associated with breast cancer, and improving emotional well-being [SMD 0.39, 95% CI 0.19–0.58, P = 0.0001], physical function[SMD 0.42, 95% CI 0.19–0.65, P = 0.0004], and physical health [SMD 0.31, 95% CI 0.08–0.54, P = 0.009] in these patients. Although the effects on stress, spirituality, pain and sleep were in the expected direction, they were not statistically significant (P > 0.05). Moreover, there is limited evidence from a narrative synthesis that MBT can improve QOL of breast cancer patients. Conclusion The present data indicate that MBT is a promising adjunctive therapy for patients with breast cancer. Due to some methodological flaws in the literature, further well-designed RCTs with large sample sizes are needed to confirm these preliminary estimates of effectiveness.

Elementary students learn calming skills through yoga

Graham, Ashley

2019
All through this school year, hundreds of Elliott Elementary School students have harnessed the power of yoga thanks to a grant from the Holt Education Foundation.

Effect of Residential Yoga Camp on Psychosocial Fitness of Adolescents

Choukse, Astha, Ram, Amritanshu, Nagendra, HR

2019
Background:Adolescence is a key phase of socialization, where improved psychosocial fitness helps to promote socioeconomic productivity in societies. Psychosocial fitness also has an impact on the academic performance, overall health, and quality of life, throughout life. The present study evaluates the effect of yoga intervention on psychosocial fitness among adolescents. Materials and Methods: A single group, pre and post yoga interventional study was carried out in three independent cohorts (batches 1, 2, and 3), having sample size of 148, 167, and 195 respectively. A 7-day integrated yoga intervention was given in a residential setting. Psychosocial assessments included social competence, empathy, altruism, parent relationship, and peer friendship. Data were collected from the participants and their parents using respective versions of the scales. While pre- and post-data were collected from all the adolescent participants, pre- and post-data from parents were collected for 340 and 43 parents only. The objective of the analyses was to evaluate the effect of the yoga program and check the consistency of these effects. Results: Significant changes (P < 0.05) were seen in social competence, empathy, and altruism in batches 2 and 3, whereas changes in batch 1 showed nonsignificant improvements. Analyses of the parental data indicated a significant improvement in parent relationship (P = 0.035) and also nonsignificant improvement in all other outcomes. Conclusion: Results suggested that yoga intervention might help in improving psychosocial fitness in adolescents. It also helped to demonstrate that administering yoga was acceptable and feasible in a residential setting.

Vulnerability, Response-Ability, and the Promise of Making Refuge

Ng, Edwin, Walsh, Zack

2019
This paper proposes “making refuge” as a conceptual placeholder and an analytical rubric, a guiding ethos and praxis, for the engaged Buddhist aspiration of responding to the social, political, economic, and planetary crises facing the world. Making refuge is conceived as the work of building the conditions of trust and safety necessary for living and dying well together as co-inhabitants of diverse communities and habitats. The paper will explain the rationale for making refuge by connecting the dharmic understanding of dukkha with feminist conceptualizations of the body and vulnerability. This will chart some theoretical and methodological pathways for engaged Buddhism to further its liberatory aspirations in reciprocity with emergent movements in radical critical theory, contemplative studies, and social and ecological activism. The paper will also examine the effects of white supremacy in U.S. Buddhism through the framework of making refuge. This will demonstrate how political healing and restorative justice might be cultivated through a dispositional ethics that pays appropriate attention to the vulnerabilities facing oppressed people.
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