Despite the fact that he’s not a scientist, the Dalai Lama will give the keynote lecture at a major neuroscience conference in November, about how Buddhist meditation affects the brain. Does he have any real information?apart from his Buddhist beliefs?to share with scientists?

David Adam writes in The Guardian that Chinese scientists are planning to boycott the Dalai Lama’s talk. There are probably political reasons for this, although they insist otherwise. The Dalai Lama has fled invading Chinese troops in 1959 and has lived in India ever since.

The Dalai Lama has always been interested in science and once said that if he had not become a monk, he would have become an engineer. He wants Western scientists to study the effects of Buddhist meditation on the human brain, and often lectures at US universities. Buddhist monks typically spend hours meditating every day. Science has shown that meditation actually changes our brainwaves. Our brainwaves can be used as a tool; paraplegics are being trained to control computer cursors using only their brains.

Some researchers think that the brain waves of people who meditate together become coordinated. This sort of thing is not unheard of; it’s been discovered that women living together in dormitories often get their menstrual periods at the same time.

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