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Dalai Lama helps scientists understand meditation's affect on health

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The Dali Lama has a strong interest in science and has long supported researchers interested in studying the mind’s role in healing. This weekend he is at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the opening of a new brain imaging and meditation lab.

The Dalai Lama joins neuroscientist Richard Davidson in a public dialogue on the intersection of science, meditation and health on Sunday, May 16, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The event starts at 2:15 p.m. CST and will be webcast from the new Center for Investigating Healthy Minds on the Madison campus. (The video will be archived and viewable online after the event.)

The center will be the first translational research facility to include a brain imaging lab and meditation space under one roof.

Davidson established the center to study “healthy qualities of mind” such as compassion, altruism, love, and happiness and investigate ways to cultivate those same qualities in children and adults. He has worked with meditation practitioners to determine how meditation changed their brains to encourage happiness, compassion and kindness. "When I met the Dalai Lama in 1992, he challenged me to adapt the tools of Western science, used to study fear and depression, to the study of positive qualities, like kindness and compassion,” said Davidson, a professor of psychology and psychiatry and director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior.

"This center combines the basic behavioral and neuroscientific research that is necessary to move our field forward with the translational component, which is critical to extend our work beyond the walls of our laboratory," Davidson said. "By developing and offering interventions for schools, hospitals, prisons and communities, we hope to create real change for society."

The Dalai Lama visited Davidson's lab in Madison once previously in 2001. He has helped Davidson and other scientists explore the convergence of neuroscience and contemplative traditions.

The center plans to apply its research in schools, prisons, medical settings and the world at large. It is already working with the Madison Metropolitan School District, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and returning Wisconsin veterans.

The Dalai Lama has a strong interest in science and has long supported researchers interested in studying the mind’s role in healing. In 2008 he spoke to 400 doctors and nurses at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., about the healing power of compassion.

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (4 posted):

m3 real on 05/16/2010 23:45:27
Absolutely true! Meditation is the power that helps our body to work in full energy and also helps our minds to be calm in every different situation.This helps us to deal with the every day stress of our life.
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Rhinoplasty on 05/18/2010 03:02:15
Ya M3 I am agree with your comment. But i am surprised why whole world is meditation is 100% responsible for health. I don't think I am maintaining my with yoga. It really helps me to be relax and cool.
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ipad leather case on 05/21/2010 21:59:08
Dalai Lama's attempts to build a connection between Buddhism and western science.Dalai Lama remains controversial. Some of the criticism appeared motivated researchers who do not agree with the dalai lama's statement.
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Dulles airport hotel on 05/24/2010 22:55:43
Meditation is an ultimate solution when we are tired, when we are not in good mood, when we dont feel like taking to others.For all these conditions meditation does plays and important role to manage the health aspects when we are sick.
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