Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom

June 23, 2011
Author:
Rick Hanson, Richard Mendius
Publisher:
New Harbinger Publications (11/1/2009)

Buddha's Brain book cover

Publisher’s Weekly | The brain physiology associated with spiritual states has been fertile ground for researchers and writers alike. Neuropsychologist and meditation teacher Hanson suggests that an understanding of the brain in conjunction with 2,500-year-old Buddhist teachings can help readers achieve more happiness. He explains how the brain evolved to keep humans safe from external threats; the resulting built-in negativity bias creates suffering in modern individuals. Citing psychologist Donald Hebb’s conclusion that when neurons fire together, they wire together, Hanson argues that the brain’s functioning can be affected by simple practices and meditation to foster well-being. Classic Buddhist concepts such as the three trainings — mindfulness, virtuous action and wisdom — frame Hanson’s approach.

Written with neurologist Mendius, the book includes descriptions and diagrams of brain functioning. Clear instructions guide the reader toward more positive thoughts and feelings. While the author doesn’t always succeed at clarifying complex physiology, this gently encouraging practical guide to your brain offers helpful information supported by research as well as steps to change instinctive patterns through the Buddhist path.

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