The Research Design Associates Blog

(meditation)

Tibetan Ancient Wisdom Challenges Modern Science

As part of his October visit to Atlanta as an Emory University Presidential Distinguished Professor, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama participated in a panel discussion of research scientists who presented results of their studies exploring the effects of meditation on physical and mental health. Through the perspectives of evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and educational research, a compelling rationale for the integration of modern science and Buddhist tradition emerged. A summary of the research presented follows including some of the work of one of my Emory research teams.

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12.22.2013

Quantum Theory Meets the Karmic Cycle

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama recently completed his third visit to Atlanta as an Emory University Presidential Distinguished Professor. The Dali Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, participated in events in October on the Emory campus and at the Gwinnett County Center that explored collaborations that draw from the best of Tibetan and Western traditions through science, religion, and mind/body medicine. At the turn of the century, the Dalai Lama challenged Western researchers to scientifically study contemplative traditions and since then Emory has been a leader in developing programs that draw on the strengths of Tibetan and Western traditions.

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12.15.2013

Monks, Meditation & Science: Can Compassion Promote Health?

At the turn of the century, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama challenged researchers to scientifically study contemplative traditions. More specifically, the Tibetan Buddhist leader called for Western scientists to examine the impact of compassion meditation on health. Since that challenge, Emory University has become a leading center for the scientific study of meditation, Tibetan medicine, philosophy, and religion in the West. I am part of an Emory multidisciplinary research team that has been studying the mechanisms of compassion meditation and its effects on health. As research psychologist, my role on the team during the past 5 years has been to provide research design and statistical analysis expertise. Most studies examining the effects of meditation on health have focused on practices that emphasize calming of the mind such as transcendental (TM) and mindfulness-based stress reduction. We wondered if adding compassion meditation to these practices would enhance the modulation of physiological stress responses. Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, Ph.D., a former Tibetan Buddhist monk, now Senior Lecturer in Emory's Department of Religion, designed and teaches our compassion meditation program. While mindfulness-based practices emphasize non-judgmental approaches to thoughts and emotions, our secular Tibetan Buddhist mind-training program was designed to challenge one's thoughts and emotions toward other people with the long-term goal of developing altruistic emotions and behavior towards all people.

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1.19.2011

Meditation Research Conference With Dalai Lama

In October 2010 at Emory University, researchers from around the country presented their meditation research findings to His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. At the turn of the century, the Tibetan Buddhist leader called for Western scientists to examine the impact of compassion meditation on health and this conference provided an opportunity for researchers and the Dalai Lama to discuss recent discoveries. My Emory research team has previously demonstrated that compassion meditation can reduce stress and inflammation, which are linked to serious illness including depression, cancer, and heart disease. At this conference, we reported the results of a study conducted this past summer that investigated the effects of meditation on the health of adolescents in foster care.

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12.26.2010