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

Buddha's Brain by Rick Hanson
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's review
Aug 18, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: personal-growth, science
Read in August, 2012

Buddha's Brain describes how the parts of the brain and related hormones interact to cause happy or unhappy moods, and how meditation and related techniques affect those aspects of the brain beneficially. Its hopeful message is that we can affect our brains and thus our emotional lives by simple techniques using attention/mindfulness, breathing, and intentional, uplifting thoughts. The last chapter contains an interesting discussion on how our sense of self is distributed among different parts and networks in our brain, and that there is unlikely to be a single locus in the brain that corresponds to our sense of self. I liked the book because of its clear explanation and application of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology to meditation and related practices. Although buddhism is the context of the book, it is the psychology, not the religion, of buddhism that is correlated in the book to neurological science. I was disappointed only the in the appendix that seemed to recommend every supplemenet available, without the scientific grounding of the rest of the book. I found the exercise on mindfulness meditation to be one of the best I have ever read. The vocabulary of brain anatomy and function might be challenging to someone new to those disciplines, but Hanson makes it understandable to the layperson.
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