Buddha's Brain joins the forces of modern neuroscience with ancient contemplative teachings to show readers how they can work toward greater emotional well-being, healthier relationships, more effective actions, and deepened religious and spiritual understanding.
Rick Hanson, PhD, is a neuropsychologist and meditation teacher. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, he cofounded the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and edits the Wise Brain Bulletin. He and his wife have two children.
"Solidly grounded in the latest neuroscientific research, and
supported by a deep understanding of contemplative practice, this
book is accessible, compelling, and profound--a crystallization of
--Philip David Zelazo, PhD, Nancy M. and John E. Lindahl Professor at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota
"A wonderfully comprehensive book. The authors have made it easy
to understand how our minds function and how to make changes so
that we can live happier, fuller lives."
--Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness
"This is simply the best book I have read on why and how we can
shape our brains to be peaceful and happy. This is a book that will
literally change your brain and your life."
--Jennifer Louden, author of The Woman's Comfort Book and The Life Organizer
"Buddha's Brain is a significant contribution to understanding
the interface between science and meditation in the path of
--Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace and One Dharma
"Buddha's Brain is compelling, easy to read, and quite
educational. The book skillfully answers the central question of
each of our lives--how to be happy--by presenting the core precepts
of Buddhism integrated with a primer on how our brains function.
This book will be helpful to anyone wanting to understand
time-tested ways of skillful living backed up by up-to-date
--Frederic Luskin, PhD, author of Forgive for Good and director of Stanford Forgiveness Projects
"An illuminating guide to the emerging confluence of
cutting-edge neuropsychology and ancient Buddhist wisdom filled
with practical suggestions on how to gradually rewire your brain
for greater happiness. Lucid, good-humored, and easily
--John J. Prendergast, PhD, adjunct associate professor of psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies and senior editor of The Sacred Mirror and Listening from the Heart of Silence
"Buddha's Brain will show you how mental practices,
informed by the contemplative traditions, can increase your
capacity for experiencing happiness and peace. This book provides a
scientific understanding of these methods, and clear guidance for
practices that cultivate a wise and free heart."
--Tara Brach, PhD author of Radical Acceptance
"I wish I had a science teacher like Rick Hanson when I went to
school. Buddha's Brain is at once fun, fascinating, and
profound. It not only shows us effective ways to develop real
happiness in our lives, but also explains physiologically how and
why they work. As he instructs us to do with positive experiences,
take in all the good information this book offers and savor
--James Baraz, author of Awakening Joy and cofounder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center
"With the mind of a scientist, the perspective of a
psychologist, and the wise heart of a parent and devoted meditator,
Rick Hanson has created a guide for all of us who want to learn
about and apply the scintillating new research that embraces
neurology, psychology, and authentic spiritual inquiry. Up-to-date
discoveries combined with state-of-the-art practices make this book
an engaging read. Buddha's Brain is at the top of my
--Richard A. Heckler, PhD, assistant professor at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA
"This book enables us to understand the whys and hows of our
human operating system so we can make more informed actions that
allow us to live our lives more fully, compassionately, and with
greater well-being and kindness towards others and ourselves. What
I find exciting about Buddha's Brain is Rick Hanson's
ability to clearly delineate the root causes of suffering and
explain pertinent ways we can actually change these causes and
effect lasting change on all levels of our mind, body, and
interpersonal relationships. His informative, relaxed, and
easy-to-read style of writing made me want to pick up this book
again and again and dive ever more deeply into the complexities of
our human engineering. Buddha's Brain is now on my recommendation
list for all my students and teachers-in-training."
--Richard C. Miller, PhD, founding president of Integrative Restoration Institute
"Numerous writings in recent years have exacerbated the
traditional rift between science and religion; however, there has
been a refreshing parallel movement in the opposite direction.
Neuroscientists have become increasingly interested in using
first-person introspective inquiries of the mind to complement
their third-person, Western scientific investigations of the brain.
Buddhist contemplative practices are particularly amenable to such
collaboration, inviting efforts to find neurobiological
explanations for Buddhist philosophy. Stripped of religious
baggage, Buddha's Brain clearly describes how modern
concepts of evolutionary and cognitive neurobiology support core
Buddhist teachings and practice. This book should have great appeal
for those seeking a secular spiritual path, while also raising many
testable hypotheses for interested neuroscientists."
--Jerome Engel, Jr., MD, PhD, Jonathan Sinay Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Neurobiology, and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles
"Buddha's Brain makes a significant contribution to the
current dynamic dialogue among neuroscience, psychology, and
Buddhist disciplines of mind training. Drawing on the wisdom born
of their own meditation practice and their scientific backgrounds,
the authors point again and again to the possibilities of the deep
transformation of our minds and lives."
--Christina Feldman, author of Compassion and The Buddhist Path to Simplicity
"Recent developments in psychology and the neurosciences have
led to clear and powerful insights about how our brains work and
how these neurological functions shape our experience of the world.
These insights are profoundly congruent with the wisdom that has
been developed over thousands of years in the contemplative
traditions. The authors of Buddha's Brain have given us a
concise and practical guide to how these two currents of knowledge
can be used to transform our capacity to engage both ourselves and
others with wisdom, compassion, and mindfulness."
--Robert D. Truog, MD, professor at Harvard Medical School, executive director of the Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice, and senior associate in critical care medicine at Children's Hospital, Boston
"A clear introduction to some basic principles of neuroscience
--Roger Walsh, MD, PhD, professor at the University of California, Irvine, and author of Essential Spirituality
"Buddha's Brain brilliantly reveals the teachings of
the Buddha in the light of modern neuroscience. This is a practical
guide to changing your reality. This is your brain on Dharma!"
--Wes "Scoop" Nisker, author of Essential Crazy Wisdom and editor of Inquiring Mind