- LONDON (Reuters) - Buddhists
really are happy, calm and serene people -- at least according to their
- Using latest scanning techniques, neuroscientists have
discovered that certain areas of the brain light up constantly in Buddhists,
and not just when they are meditating, which indicates positive emotions
and good mood.
- "We can now hypothesise with some confidence that
those apparently happy, calm Buddhist souls one regularly comes across
in places such as Dharamsala, India, really are happy," Professor
Owen Flanagan, of Duke University in North Carolina, said on Wednesday.
- Dharamsala is the home base of exiled Tibetan leader
the Dalai Lama.
- The scanning studies by scientists at the University
of Wisconsin at Madison showed activity in the left prefrontal lobes of
experienced Buddhist practitioners. The area is linked to positive emotions,
self-control and temperament.
- Other research by Paul Ekman, of the University of California
San Francisco Medical Centre, suggests that meditation and mindfulness
can tame the amygdala, an area of the brain which is the hub of fear memory.
- Ekman discovered that experienced Buddhists were less
likely to be shocked, flustered, surprised or as angry as other people.
- Flanagan believes that if the findings of the studies
can be confirmed they could be of major importance.
- "The most reasonable hypothesis is that there is
something about conscientious Buddhist practice that results in the kind
of happiness we all seek," Flanagan said in a report in New Scientist