The technology of happiness

September 11, 2009

This geodesic sensor net containing 256 electrodes picks up electrical impulses from numerous parts of the brain when placed on a subject's head. For years westerners have assumed that Buddhists must be a miserable lot: their teachings dwell so much on suffering. But recent scientific research suggests what Buddhists have believed all along. Buddhism — or at least Buddhist meditation — leads to happiness.

Media headlines in the last few years have trumpeted new research into the effects of meditation on brain activity, behavior and even resistance to disease. The findings are still provisional, but as the philosopher Owen Flanagan commented in New Scientist magazine: “The most reasonable hypothesis is that there’s something about conscientious Buddhist practice that results in the kind of happiness we all seek.”

The background is a growing dialog between Buddhist teachers and leading … Read more »

The happiest man in the world

July 17, 2009

The New York Times today has an article by Daniel Goleman, most famous for his work, Emotional Intelligence, but who has also been involved with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Mind and Life conferences and with Dr. Richard Davidson’s research into the effects of meditation on the brain. He writes about Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, who has apparently been described as the happiest man in the world. Usually I’ve seen that title reserved for another meditator, Matthieu Ricard, but maybe there’s been some kind of world championship laugh-off that I missed. Anyway, it’s an interesting article, even if most of the information is about studies published some years ago.

I recently spent an evening

Read more »

Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue With the Dalai Lama, by Daniel Goleman

February 23, 2007

destructive emotionsAvailable from and

Don’t be put off by the title: this book should really be called “Positive emotions and how to develop them.”

A new book from Buddhist author Daniel Goleman (“Emotional Intelligence”) is always going to be an exciting event. More so in this case because of the extraordinary background out of which the book emerged.

The Dalai Lama, a fan of science since boyhood (he famously enjoys tinkering with watches and has been known to rubberneck when passing electronics stores) annually gathers the world’s eminent minds in order to educate himself about the latest scientific findings and in order to promote cross-cultural dialog. The resulting discussions are like a cross … Read more »

Finding happiness: cajole your brain to lean to the left

February 4, 2003

NY Times article by Daniel Goleman (author of Emotional Intelligence) on scientific explanations of how meditation acts as an antidote to stress.

Read the rest of this article…