By Gillette De Bary
Some of the earliest teachings of Tibetan Buddhism are being scientifically validated. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama states that “Buddhism has long had a theory of what in neuroscience is called the ‘plasticity of the brain’.” in his book entitled “The World in A Single Atom”.
The concept of neuroplasticity suggests that the brain is highly malleable and is subject to continual change as a result of experience, so that new connections between neurons may be formed or even brand new neurons generated.
But can the human brain be physiologically altered from within one’s own consciousness?
Consider consciousness our habitual patterns of mental activity. An ancient tenet of Buddhism, the law of impermanence, supports the notion that transformation of the traits of one’s consciousness is possible – nay, inevitable – in the manner that all conditioned things and events are in constant flux.
Our consciousness IS constantly changing us. Now, science is proving it. My classmate has investigated this research in her Patch Blog, "Can Happy Thoughts Change the Way Your Brain Functions", and it is being revealed that the mind DOES cause lasting physical changes in the actual circuitry of the human brain.
Personality, disposition, and even moods are not permanent. The Dalai Lama is working hand-in-hand with neuroscience to prove that these traits – previously presumed to be fixed within the circuitry of the brain– are malleable and are affected by mental exercise and changes in the environment.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama will speak on Oct. 18 and 19 at Western Connecticut State University, and the public is invited to a free showing (video simulcast) in the Ives Concert Hall, 181 White St. To help promote this opportunity, WCSU students in the Writing, Linguistics and Creative Process Department's Advertising, Copywriting and Promotions class created a Twitter page. and they are writing this blog daily.