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Paperback Buddha's Brain : The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom Book

ISBN: 1572246952

ISBN13: 9781572246959

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

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Book Overview

If you change your brain, you can change your life. Great teachers like the Buddha, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, and Gandhi were all born with brains built essentially like anyone else's--and then they changed their brains in ways that changed the world. Science is now revealing how the flow of thoughts actually sculpts the brain, and more and more, we are learning that it's possible to strengthen positive brain states. By combining breakthroughs in neuroscience...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

A great resource to assist the Western, logic-driven mind to make sense of it's "Self"

I am a Soto Zen Buddhist living the corporate life. Having studied physiology and now working as a coach and organisational change consultant I found this book perfectly meets me where my western mind is and succinctly points a guiding finger to help me understand my Self. Many times I come back from meditation retreats and struggle to make sense of and integrate my mindfulness practice within the context of my ordinary life. This book helps A LOT! The chapter on the self is worth the cover price alone. This chapter beautifully brings together neuroscience, psychology and Buddhism into a clear description on how we cause ourselves to suffer. Highly recommended.

The Click and Clack of the Frontal Lobe

"If I know one thing for sure, it's that you can do small things inside your mind that will lead to big changes in your brain and your experience of living. I've seen this happen again and again with people I've known as a psychologist and meditation teacher . . ." - Rick Hanson Buddha's Brain will not only explain 'why' you should take in the good but 'how' you can achieve a more positive outlook with some basic awareness skills. The authors, Neuropsychologist, Rick Hanson and neurologist, Richard Mendius are the Click and Clack (Car Talk) of the brain. These two brainiacs/meditation teachers will show you how to create positive feelings that have many emotional and health benefits such as a stronger immune system and a cardiovascular system that is less reactive to stress. You'll learn how to create a positive cycle of good feelings that you can then spread to others. Enough with all the negativity out there! Haven't we all had enough? As a Type-A New Yorker, one of my favorite exercises in the book is 'Hush the Verbal Centers.' Here you use the power of prefrontal intention to politely (or impolitely) suggest that the verbal activity (voices in your head) shut the hell up. Tell them if they are quiet and well-behaved you will invite them to come yammer away later on after the job interview/tax return/golf putt/midterm exam. For us control freaks this is especially wonderful because now we can control our brains, as well as everything else. Who knew life could be so swell!?! Last, Hanson's wife, acupuncturist Jan Hanson writes an appendix on nutritional neurochemistry recommending nutrients, supplements and dietary basics to support brain function. "I've repeatedly seen that small, thoughtful, sensible changes in what you put in your mouth each day can gradually produce significant benefits," writes Hanson. The authors have simplified the latest neuroscientific research and presented it in a wise and compassionate style that comforts and educates at the same time. Read this book and then pass it on to the cranky person in your life! For more about Buddha's Brain or articles, talks and other educational resources, [...]

Highly Recommended

We have often been told that by altering our thoughts, deeds and words, we can create a happier, more fulfilled life. This book, at the intersection between psychology, neuroscience, and Buddhism, offers effective methods to show us how to live such a life by being fully present in the moment. Hanson and Mendius, a neuropsychologist and a neurologist and both practicing Buddhists, show us just how the brain programs us to experience the world a certain way by combining information from the external world with information held in neural pathways within the brain. These pathways operate in the background of our awareness, influencing our conscious mental activity. Unless we consciously interrupt this process, we are destined to develop deeper neural networks and even stronger programming. The argument that the brain has the ability to simulate the world is not new. What is interesting is how Hanson and Mendius link Buddhist teachings on the causes of suffering (painful situations cannot be avoided but our emotional responses to them can) to the deep programming in our brains caused by ancestral survival strategies. They suggest that this hardwiring helped us survive constant life-threatening situations but is based on erroneous beliefs that we are separate, that it is possible to stabilize an ever changing world, that we can avoid situations that create pain and pursue only those that give us pleasure. None of these beliefs are true or can be attained. Their inherent contradictions cause us to live with an underlying feeling of anxiety taking us away from our true ground of being and causing much physical and psychological ill-health. The main part of the book is a practical guide and is packed with useful exercises and guided meditations to help us develop a more loving, happier, and wiser state of being. The methods Hanson and Mendius suggest are informed by their experiences as therapists and management consultants, and are rooted in Buddhist teachings on mindfulness, virtue, and wisdom. I particularly liked the way they use neuroscience to underpin the tools they offer, only choosing "methods that have a plausible scientific explanation for how they light up neural networks of contentment, kindness and peace." Now I know why taking five deep inhalations and exhalations calms me. Many of their methods show how to activate desired brain states by consciously changing the association between an event and its painful or pleasurable feelings. This can take a long time. Understanding the neuroscience behind the process can help us be compassionate with ourselves when "swimming against ancient currents within our nervous system." This book is very informative, with helpful summaries at the end of each chapter. The authors' writing, even when explaining the intricacies of neuroscience, is infused with humor and fun to read. This is a good working manual to help us to become who we already are, and an important contribution to the growing body of k

Buddha's Brain on My Mind!

"Buddha'a Brain" is a highly practical, no-nonsense manual to your brain that teaches you to drive your brain using the gearbox of your mind. This very well researched book trains you to fire up your brain, to cool it down, and even to expand your "consciousness workspace." The neuro-anatomical commentary that accompanies the Sunyuata doctrine of "no fixed self" is masterful! "Buddha's Brain" is a laconic, pragmatic cousin to James Austin's "Zen and the Brain." Bound to be a classic! Pavel Somov, Ph.D. author of "Eating the Moment," "Present Perfect: a Mindfulness Approach to Overcoming Perfectionism and the Need to Control," & "The Lotus Effect"
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