My experience is that cognitive therapy attempts to replace a negative/habitual thought with a positive/realistic thought - but, one is still in the "samsara" of thoughts. Buddhist meditation is quite different from this, in that one learns (relearns) to suspend thought altogether, replacing it with complete absoption and unification with one's sensory world. That is, one suspends one's "top-down" conceptually driven process to be replaced (even for just a moment) with "bottom-up" data-driven processes. In this way, one no longer is trapped by thoughts (habitual or "realistic" - just another name for socially-acceptable thoughts). Instead, one's thoughts/concepts/discriminations become just another aspect of the world. One is not unconsciously tied to them.
Thus, Buddhist meditation is, if anything, closer to existential psychotherapy, rather than cognitive therapy. However, meditaiton can certainly facilitate cognitive therapy. After all, how can one "replace" a habitual thought with a "realistic" thought - unless one is able to "suspend" the habitual thought. And to do that, one must be willing to embrace one's fundamental position - the same position shared by all things.
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