We know there are already hundreds of studies with promising results. State of enlightenment is already documented and can be measured.

So I am asking whether exists some resources or even a curriculum of best practices that lead enlightenment and are supported by scientific research.

  • There are scientifically validated practices, not for Buddhists, but for patients looking to prevent recurrence of depression and anxiety, as well as those with chronic pain. If you are interested, please see this answer.
    – ruben2020
    Dec 24, 2018 at 2:44
  • I would say they are all scientifically validated. It would be the only way to valldiate them. I think you;re speaking only of the physical sciences and these are the wrong tool for the job.
    – user14119
    Mar 7, 2019 at 15:43
  • 1
    Why these are the wrong tool for the job? What would be a better tool? Mar 8, 2019 at 15:11

2 Answers 2


The Buddha himself advocates the scientific method:

the teaching realizable in this very life, immediately effective, inviting inspection, relevant, so that sensible people can know it for themselves --SN35.70

The practice of Buddhism is essentially endless lab experiments with reproducible results. The results are subjective and difficult to measure externally. For example, what meter can one buy to measure "tranquility"? A heart rate monitor that measures tranquility as low BPM? Maybe not, since dead people are quite tranquil at 0 BPM.

Because science prefers instrumented measurements over self-reported assessments, a scientist interested in measuring the results of Buddhist practice objectively (i.e., vs. "are you tranquil?") must do so a bit indirectly. For example, there is interest in MRI scans of meditators.

Although the reliance on instruments is fascinating, it's also a bit more than what is actually needed. If we experience a cessation of suffering, do we really need external instrument validation? And what would convince someone more to try the Noble Eight Fold Path: a scientific paper, or a friend with a clear heart?

  • 2
    I'd give this more upvotes if I could. Where Buddhist practice is not scientific it is likely to be hopeless. If we extend the word 'empiricism' to include direct experience and explore this as the Buddha advises then it is an empirical science. Essentially it is lab experiments, just as you say. I wish its critics would bother to learn this. So many folk believe it is conjectural and faith-based one would think the printing press hadn't been invented. .
    – user14119
    Jan 2, 2019 at 17:08
  • I have yet to know a Fair-Seeing God as such. Some experiments are...difficult.
    – OyaMist
    Jan 2, 2019 at 17:32

I'm not looking to contest buddhism from a scientific view, but from what i can tell the times when buddhism was founded or formulated was done based on different epistemological and ontological premises compared to our contemporary idea of scientific validation. In that sense buddhism and modern science are incommensurable paradigms, and expecting buddhism to be scientific would run the risk of being a bit of an anachronistic assumption.

As for the opposite direction, applying modern science to examine certain buddhist concepts are widely practiced, but i take it from your question that you're already aware of that. (If not, a personal favorite of mine is Paul Gilberts research and operalization of loving kindness and compassion).

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    I'd say Buddhism is empirical and experience-dependent and as such is scientific.It was scientific before the word was invented. I see nothing in Popper that disqualifies Buddhism. .
    – user14119
    Mar 7, 2019 at 15:40
  • Quite the opposite. The only real difference between Buddhism and Science is that Science has focused on the world outside the mind and Buddhism in the world inside it. It is the same basic perspective applied to very different and disjoint areas which clearly leads to different methodologies, purposes, and results. It is only in the modern era that these areas are starting to overlap and see the value in each other. Mar 7, 2019 at 22:29

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