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Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2011
This book comes as a hugely welcome, reader-friendly primer on a very important area of study. Over the last few decades, scientists, Buddhists, and scholars have renewed investigation into the resonance between science and Buddhism. Analysis of theoretical physics and Buddhism and crossover studies in Buddhism, meditation, and neuroscience are making significant progress in understanding the nature of the cosmos, the wisdom of the Buddha, the importance of meditation, and the structure of the psyche. This book manages to condense and simplify the science and the philosophy, and it offers several recommendations for meditation practice aimed at helping the reader to directly experience the knowledge.

Buddha's Brain is suitable for beginner and intermediate readers or newcomers to the field of neuroscience. It is well written, balanced, and well presented. I recommend this book highly. In fact, I bought extra copies and gave them away as gifts! Enjoy!

I'm waiting for the next book: Beyond the Brain!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2013
The author (a practicing meditater) has succeeded in generating a pop best-seller without stepping on too many toes.
He presents a medical jargon-filled neurologists view of how the brain distorts reality and leads to suffering of the sort long ago described by Buddha. This happens through a built-in "negativity bias [that] fosters or intensifies other unpleasant emotions, such as anger, sorrow, depression, guilt, and shame." "it typically takes about five positive interactions to overcome the effects of a single negative one"
He lists a set of cures based on "Activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System" including relaxation, Run warm water over your hands, diaphragm breathing, progressive relaxation, big exhalation, touching the lips, imagery, balancing your heartbeat and, predictably, meditation, among other things.

He talks about the illusory nature of human experience which he calls self-ing, how the brain constructs an apparent, fragmented false self.
"Your brain simulates the world--each of us lives in a virtual reality that's close enough to the real thing that we don't bump into the furniture."
"Just because we have a sense of self does not mean that we are a self. The brain strings together heterogeneous moments of self-ing and subjectivity into an illusion of homogenous coherence and continuity. The self is truly a fictional character. Sometimes it's useful to act as if it's real..."
"The self has no independent existence whatsoever."

"In sum, from a neurological standpoint, the everyday feeling of being a unified self is an utter illusion: the apparently coherent and solid 'I' is actually built from many subsystems and sub-subsystems over the course of development, with no fixed center, and the fundamental sense that there is a subject of experience is fabricated from myriad, disparate moments of subjectivity." "No self, no problem."
So, there you have it. Now that you know you are a fictional construct you can decide if you can find your genuine self through the rapture of meditation.

The author relates a story "about a Native American elder who was asked how she had become so wise, so happy, and so respected. She answered: 'In my heart, there are two wolves: a wolf of love and a wolf of hate. It all depends on which one I feed each day.'"
In chapter 7 of his book he covers equanimity. "'Equanimity is a perfect, unshakable balance of mind.'"
"Equanimity is neither apathy nor indifference: you are warmly engaged with the world but not troubled by it. Through its non-reactivity, it creates a great space for compassion, loving-kindness, and joy at the good fortune of others."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2013
This book is a wonderful bridge between Buddhism and neuroscience. It explains why we do the things we do that aren't very helpful to us. Then it tells you what you need to do to learn to act in a way that is skillful. If you read this book then you will get a lot of information, however, information is just a lot of stuff filed in the brain. Often we can intellectualize it and regurgitate what we have read or heard. This book, as the Buddha taught, says that we must take the information and live it in order for change to occur. If reading a book or hearing a teacher would enlighten us, then there would be a lot of enlightened people. Books and teachers simply point the way, like pointing out directions on a map. We have to actually take the trip to get to the destination.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2015
“the practical neuroscience of Buddha’s Brain happiness, love & wisdom”
By Rick Hanson with Richard Mendius

NO SPOILERS

There are some books you read and wonder what you learned from it. I learned so much about myself I don’t know where to begin.

I loved how this book backed up its information with scientific facts. (The writing and words are easy to understand.) The science of how and why your brain does what it does it super amazing. You don’t even realize how much control you actually have over your life till you understand your brain. My life started changing for the better while I was reading this book. I opened up to people for the first time in years. I learned how to love myself every day. I did the work the book suggested. I worked hard trying to understand myself. It was scary at times; the truth can hurt. I am on a journey and this book helped open my doors.

I was already a mediator when I started reading this book. My practise is stronger and more controlled then it has ever been.

I deal with anxiety and depression; this book has given me ways to deal with it. I am not fixed by any means. I definitely have 60% less daily issues with my anxiety and depression; due to reading this book. I feel happier and know I can deal with almost anything.

The biggest thing this book helped me with was my traumatic past. I was walking past an area I was hurt in once. Usually I get tense, my brain and heart hurts walking by that place. One day it didn’t. I cried I was so happy. I started to understand why my brain did what it did. I made a choice to change my reactions to confront them instead. My heart is whole and my brain has replaced some of those negative experiences with positive experiences.

The book teaches you the roots of the brain. The book takes you from every aspect of life. It touches on control, emotions, environments, people, stress and everything that can affect your life. The book doesn’t feel like a heavy essay read.

It sounds unreal. This book really gives you tools and skills you can use in daily life. It makes sense and I like how the writers seem like they are talking to a friend. They explain themselves; it is logical, factual, and I had a lot of fun exploring myself. I only recommend this book if you really want to do the work. Any book can be dumb and not help you. You have to have heart to listen and try.

Now I accomplish more in life and do less in my mind. It is more peaceful and worth a shot to read.

Thanks for your time,

Good luck in your future!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2013
Very clear, easy to understand and up to date neuroscience - brain anatomy and function. It is interlaced with a deep knowledge of meditation practice, showing how these ancient ways can change our brain for the better. A must read for anyone wanting practical ways to calm the nervous system, recover from trauma or just have a better life.
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on August 27, 2015
This s excellent read for people who are keen to understand and visualize how our brain reacts and what processes happen during meditation, and why is meditation good for you. Gets a wee to technical some time
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on January 19, 2013
A must read, especially if you or someone you know struggles with ADD. Changed my husbands way of approaching life and made a big difference in how we communicate with one another.
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on September 19, 2014
EXCELLENT. A BEAUTIFUL INSPIRING READ STRONGLY SUPPORTED BY GENUINE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH. FOR ME I LOVE TO HAVE VERY IMPORTANT IDEAS BACKED UP BY SOLID RESEARCH.
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on August 12, 2014
A wealth of knowledge. A recommended read for anyone interested in learning about why and how the brain works the way it does.
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on November 5, 2012
I have read four other books on the brain and found this one to be excellent with tips on how to teach / change the brain
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