“A key component of Buddhist belief is that meditation literally transforms the mind. Thus, Buddhists are highly interested in scientific advances that could possibly help explain and/or provide evidence for this phenomenon. The question as to whether meditative phenomena have a biological basis is intriguing not only to the Dalai Lama and other Buddhists, but also to many neuroscientists. The collaborations between Western scholars and Buddhist monks are invaluable because the study of trained meditators can provide insights into the mechanisms behind important brain functions, as well as into possible therapeutic approaches related to lifestyle.”
Lindsey and I (Juliana) are sisters at Columbia University both majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior. We are fascinated by the brain and the complex biological mechanisms that dictate behavior.
Merriam-Webster defines neuroscience as “a branch of the life sciences that deals with the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, or molecular biology of nerves and nervous tissue and especially with their relation to behavior and learning.” While taking Professor Tuttle’s Intro to East Asian Civ: Tibet course we became fascinated by Tibet and its link to neuroscience. Neuroscientists have taken great interest in Tibet, in particular the practice of Tibetan Buddhism and the effects that mediation can have on the brain. These researchers hope that their studies of Tibetan Buddhist monks will help them define the biological underpinnings of compassion and altruism.
In this blog, we have written posts that summarize some of the work that neuroscientists have done in Tibet. We also have complied various sources that explore neuroscience research in Tibet, including videos, news articles, and research papers.