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Lions Roar : March 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2012 61 community to consider partnering with the “Olympian athletes” of mental training—senior Buddhist monks—to augment exist- ing research in these areas. Arthur Zajonc, who co-moderated the dialogue, sees it as a turning point for the Mind & Life Institute. Results from Davidson’s laboratory research on longtime meditators was reported at the meeting and caused a sensation. “In the wake of that meeting, a great deal of media coverage led to hundreds of requests, including from young researchers, for connection to the work of Mind and Life,” Zajonc remembers. Zajonc feels the meeting changed the way scientists understood mind and mental processes: now they had to take into account the demonstrated effects of meditation on the brain. He could tell from the enthusiastic response of the audience that science and spiritual practice (in this case, Buddhism) were finally coming together—at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, no less. One of those at this historic forum was Dacher Keltner, founder of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. An expert on emotions and compassion, Keltner was awed by the experience of meeting with the Dalai Lama. “The most incredible thing that the Dalai Lama communi- cates is his person,” says Keltner. “He is an extremely impressive, compassionate man. He just lights up a crowd.” But what impressed 2000s Heleen Slagter et al publish “Mental Training Affects Distribution of Limited Brain Resources” in PLOS Biology. Richie Davidson founds Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Journal of the American Medical Association pub- lishes “Mindfulness in Medicine” by David S. Ludwig and Jon Kabat-Zinn Eileen Luders and UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging team publish study showing signifi- cantly larger gray mat- ter volume in meditators Yi-Yuan Tang publishes study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing that as little as 20 minutes a day of meditation for five days can improve social skills and reduce reactivity to stress. Antoine Lutz et al use fMRI to study positive emotional states in meditators who have practiced at least 10,000 hours ➢ page 87 Georges Dreyfus speaking about Buddhism and emotion at the 2003 Mind and Life conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, titled Investigating the Mind: Exchanges Between Buddhism and Biobehavioral Science. PHOTOSCOURTESYOFMINDANDLIFEINSTITUTE