Where neurocognition meets the master: Attention and metacognition in Zen

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Palgrave Macmillan US


In the chapter, we explore the "training" of attention in the Zen Buddhist practice of sitting meditation (zazen) from the perspectives of cognitive psycholgy and cognitive neuroscience. In doing so, we integrate three propositions: 1. zazen cultivates present-centered awareness or sustained selective attention to one's moment-by-moment experience; 2. the practice of sustained selective attention in zazen interacts with executive processes in order to regulate attention; 3. as the ability to sustain present-centered awareness increases, the need for attentional regulation decreases, and more cognitive resources are available for "simply noticing" whatever occurs in one's moment-by-moment experience.

Chapter of

Soul, Psyche, & Brain


Kelly Bulkeley

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