Conditional Enlightenment is an Oxymoron
Mark Shefsiek stashed this in The eternally happy Yogi
For centuries upon centuries, certain groups have stated that having a penis was a necessary condition for enlightenment. This is still the case in many circumstances.
So if you do what this author suggests, you are not testing enlightenment, you are testing brain function or biomarkers of a limited sample of specific people within a specific subsample of a very limited population in the first place. You are also assuming that specific experiential states or behavioral traits are necessary and/or sufficient for a subject to be "awake." Including in some cases gender.
Anything you find cannot be extrapolated to anything at all.
For example a practitioner of Zazen (just siting) is going to have vastly different physiologic experience than a Tummo practitioner (intense heating of body through meditative means) and the mastery of either skill is not sufficient evidence of enlightenment in the first place.
By definition, enlightenment is beyond the casual mind, appearance, perception or state of physical being.
For example I am a 45 year old enlightened male in good health. A test confirms I have given brain function and neurobiology. Yay, I get to wear the enlightenment hat. 40 years pass, I have cancer and a brain tumor. Do I have to give the hat back because I present with a vastly different fMRI profile?
It makes no sense, realization of mind cannot be brain function dependent because if it is by definition at time of death then enlightenment would cease. In my tradition of Tibetan practice we say that the greatest clarity is in the three days following death, and awakening is still possible when the mind is in the "in between states" (without physical form). So if you are being rigorous you would need to test my mind after I Died.
I hope you can see the absurdity of this entire process.
That is not to say you cannot research how specific practices can influence physiology and psychology, across legitimate samples, but there is no possible way to go beyond that.
The realization of mind can only be tested by the realizer, assuming there is an inherent being capable of realization.
"Responsible scientific investigations of enlightenment can proceed only on the basis of rigorous understanding of particular experiential states or behavioral traits within a particular tradition as part of a whole value system, embedded in many other aspects of the models employed in that specific tradition of how the mind works and how awakening progresses."
"Enlightenment is beyond the casual mind, appearance, perception or state of physical being."
So does that make it unconditional?
"Zazen (just siting) is going to have vastly different physiologic experience than a Tummo practitioner (intense heating of body through meditative means)."
Are these both forms of Zen?
Zazen is "thinking non thinking" just sitting allowing everything to be "just this"
Tummo is a Tibetan practice of "creating inner fire" though breathing and visualizations
And yes enlightenment is unconditional.
The natural state of mind.
Everything must be directed at removing conditions and conditional thinking. It can be an extremely slow process or instantaneous. (Time cannot be a condition)
Any practice that has conditions, while possible to be used to remove conditions, should not add new conditions.
So science, as it is now, can be used to prove that science cannot prove anything(with respect to the unconditional) and can explain the way we view the relative, but science that adds new conditions is making the conditional more difficult to remove.
Removing conditions is a fascinating rule of thumb for life:
IF you see a condition, THEN you should remove it.
I will have to think about how to do that.
That is, he is, she is......
Ask why? If you continually look and contemplate you fall into an infinite regress and you realize you have no idea why you think most of what you think.
I think I must chop wood and carry water.