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The Mind's Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation [Kindle Edition]

Jon Kabat-Zinn , Richard Davidson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

By inviting the Dalai Lama and leading researchers in medicine, psychology, and neuroscience to join in conversation, the Mind & Life Institute set the stage for a fascinating exploration of the healing potential of the human mind. The Mind’s Own Physician presents in its entirety the thirteenth Mind and Life dialogue, a discussion addressing a range of vital questions concerning the science and clinical applications of meditation: How do meditative practices influence pain and human suffering? What role does the brain play in emotional well-being and health? To what extent can our minds actually influence physical disease? Are there important synergies here for transforming health care, and for understanding our own evolutionary limitations as a species?

Edited by world-renowned researchers Jon Kabat-Zinn and Richard J. Davidson, this book presents this remarkably dynamic interchange along with intriguing research findings that shed light on the nature of the mind, its capacity to refine itself through training, and its role in physical and emotional health.



Editorial Reviews

Review

The Mind’s Own Physician is a journey of understanding, in which an integrative dialogue unfolds between the spiritual leaders of contemplative meditation and scientists at the forefront of mind-body medicine. This transformative conversation provides valuable insight into how meditative practices can balance the mind with effects on the body, as well as, potential benefits for human health. This blending of contemplative traditions with Western science opens a mindful awareness that has the empowering capacity to fully engage people in their health, and more broadly, in the well-being of our societies.”
—Michael R. Irwin, MD, Cousins Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles

The Mind’s Own Physician brings you straight into the heart of a remarkable interchange between His Holiness the Dalai Lama, renowned contemplative teachers from Buddhist and Christian traditions, and world leaders in neuroscience, psychiatry, stress physiology, and clinical medicine. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Richard Davidson guide the reader through an authentic chronicle of a landmark meeting of extraordinary minds as it unfolds through a series of crystalline presentations and probing dialogues about the nature of mind, meditation, and brain function. These dialogues provide the foundation for discussion on the biological effects of chronic stress, treatment and relapse prevention in depression, and the historical and evolutionary roots of Western medicine’s struggle to understand and care for the whole person. The highly accessible and rich treatment of each of these areas is fascinating to read. The constant presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s deeply engaged attention, teaching, and critical ear reverberates throughout. The participants’ common commitment to fostering the conditions necessary for human flourishing through intercultural and interdisciplinary inquiry is truly inspiring. In capturing this arc of information and intent, The Mind’s Own Physician becomes an essential treatment of one of the most hopeful directions in thought alive today: the human capacity to ease our suffering through introspective insight and our growing scientific investigation into how this may occur.”
—Clifford Saron, PhD, Associate Research Scientist, University of California, Davis Center for Mind and Brain



The Mind’s Own Physician offers us a precious portal into the seminal conversations that gave birth to the nascent field of contemplative neuroscience. The issues digested, debated, and ignited in its pages will serve as a road map and inspiration for my students and their students over the coming decades.”
—Amishi P. Jha, PhD, contemplative neuroscientist, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Miami



“If you want to see how to build bridges between the deepest wisdom of the heart and the highest standards of contemporary neuroscience, look no further. This series of meetings between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Western scientists and meditation teachers will prove to be epoch-changing, and this book shows why. Here, you will find interior and exterior empiricism in exquisite dialogue. Drink it all in. The brilliance of the participants shines through on every page.”
—Mark Williams, PhD, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford, Director, Oxford Mindfulness Centre



“Can meditation improve your health? This question is just the starting point for a series of innovative exchanges across different ways of knowing among first-ranked clinicians, scientists, Buddhist teachers, and the Dalai Lama. Thoughtful, rigorous, and surprising by turns, this dialogue reminds all of us who care about the effects of the mind on health just how much more thinking remains to be done.”
—Anne Harrington, PhD, Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University, author of The Cure Within



“Our thoughts can seem too real, giving our imaginings about tomorrow the power to create chronic stress and unhealthy changes in our bodies. Our sense of self can seem too fixed, creating a cage where our habitual worries can run in depressing circles. In the moment that we recognize our thoughts as thoughts and our habits as habits, new and liberating possibilities emerge for the way we live our lives. Contemplative traditions such as Buddhism have long seen the transformative power of that simple moment of recognition, and more recently, clinicians in various domains have discovered the potential that this contemplative insight offers for the treatment of chronic stress, depression, and other especially modern maladies. Yet the potential of interventions based on contemplative approaches has only begun to emerge. The full realization of that potential requires a careful, critical, and honest dialogue among contemplatives and scientists so as to allow research and clinical practices to develop effectively. This remarkable book provides a fresh and clear record of such a dialogue. Informative and highly accessible, The Mind’s Own Physician is a groundbreaking moment in the development of contemplative science.”
—John D. Dunne, Associate Professor of Religion, Emory University



“A must-read for anyone interested in understanding how Buddhist contemplative traditions and Western scientific traditions can work together to uncover the complexities of the human mind. Mind and Life has done it again: engaged a group of distinguished contemplative scholars, clinicians, and scientists in a lively, productive, and inspiring dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama that furthers our understanding of meditation and its potential to heal.”
—Jeanne Tsai, Associate Professor of Psychology, Stanford University, Director, Stanford Culture and Emotion Laboratory



“This book marks a milestone in the emerging field of contemplative sciences. Within its pages, you can relive a seminal 2005 Mind and Life conference that brought together world-famous neuroscientists, clinicians, and contemplative scholars in a dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This groundbreaking work explores the development of scientifically based tools and programs aimed at creating more balanced and healthy lives. How does stress evolve? What does it do to our minds and bodies? How can we use ancient mindfulness and meditative practices in our everyday, modern lives and also in clinical settings to reduce stress and cultivate healthier minds? This book is a must for everyone who is interested in making this world a more human place.”
—Tania Singer, PhD, Director, Department of Social Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany



“Jon Kabat-Zinn and Richard Davidson bring together an internationally acclaimed cast of neuroscientists and scholars for a stimulating dialogue with the Dalai Lama. They weave a rich tapestry of information on how meditation can be useful for a wide variety of conditions, ranging from depression and stress to anxiety and psoriasis. In easy-to-understand, conversational style, the experts lay out how the mind’s powerful healing effects can be harnessed in ways that are becoming increasingly illuminated by scientific discoveries.”
—Stuart J. Eisendrath, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, Director of the UCSF Depression Center

From the Publisher

In Washington, DC, the Dalai Lama met with Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living, Richard Davidson, and other leading meditation researchers to explore the intersection between ancient meditation techniques and modern neuroscience. The result is a fascinating and revealing conversation about the potential of the human mind to heal itself through mindfulness meditation, transcribed and presented to the public for the first time in The Mind's Own Physician.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1581 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications; 1 edition (January 2, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0064FGGEE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,247 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This book was different from what I was expecting, but still extremely valuable. Based on the subtitle, 'A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Powers of Meditation', and the cover shot featuring the Dalai Lama speaking, I was expecting the book to be a collection of talks given by the Dalai Lama on this subject, with the 'dialogue' being questions posed to him. In fact, it is almost the reverse - in 2005 a collection of scientists, psychologists, and clinical practitioners each presented their latest research on topics related to mindfulness, meditation, neuroscience, and how these intersect with mental and physical health, to the Dalai Lama at a conference sponsored by the Mind-Life Institute, and this book is an edited transcription of this conference. Although the Dalai Lama is asked questions and does participate in parts, most of the speaking is not done by him.

However, the information presented is fascinating, and done in bite-size chunks that lay readers can mostly understand ('lay' referring both to non-Buddhists and non-scientists.) I say 'mostly' because although I am very familiar with Buddhism, I am most definitely not a neuro-scientist (although I have read a lot of meditation related research), and the more technical brain discussions did get a bit over my head. However, in most cases the question and answer sessions brought things back down to a practical level that I could understand.

The conference sessions, and the book, are divided into 5 themed sections: Meditation-Based Clinical Interventions, Biological Substrates of Meditation, Meditation and Mental Health, Meditation and Physical Health, and Integration and Final Reflections.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
'The Mind's Own Physician' is a dialogue in five sessions between the Dalai Lama and a set of physicians and researchers before an audience at the Mind and Life Institute. If you would like more information about the past or future sessions, here is the web address:
[...]
The dialogue in this book was aimed at finding mediation and mindfulness practices that could be incorporated in medicine. There are very many ways to mediate as HH Dalai Lama states. He didn't have an educational background in medicine, biology so he needed more information about the terms or how things worked, he asked questions. He was asked to and gave a summary of the principle themes in Buddhism. That also helped to make sure that no one was getting lost when he was using terms common in Buddhism.

Since I don't want to give too much away in the findings explored and the commonalities of Buddhist thought and modern neurobiology, I will just mention a little of what was discussed in Session One.

Pain was discussed. HH Dalai Lama explained there are two parts to pain (1) the pain itself and (2) the arrows around it or the feelings around it. We ask ourselves, will this ever end? It is killing me; will it ever get any better? Buddhist meditation can do nothing about the pain but it can change the added pain of thoughts about the pain. And that can help people feel better. That part of the burden can be lifted and the person with pain can feel freer.

A research study on psoriasis was given as an example of using mediation as a healing tool. Both the control group and the experimental group were given UVB or PUBA light treatments. But only the experimental group also listened to meditation tapes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent and promising meditation investigation July 10, 2012
By slarts
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book does not focus on religious beliefs, but does show how religion can view and use meditation techniques to improve their teaching and belief structure. Mostly it encompasses the scientific findings and continuing research which has brought about amazing results that solidify the benefits of meditation, and show the value in continued research and practice. This book is a validation in scientific terms of meditation as a medical treatment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A continuing series of books from the Mind Life Institute and Western Science (I've read two of the prior publications, Healing Emotions and Destructive Emotions). This book elaborates upon the others with more up-to-date scientific evidence for mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive-behavioral therapy. I also bought The Emotional Life of Your Brain...by Richard Davidson, Ph.D. and Sharon Begley. The two books are very complementary. A must read for those interested in the intersection of science and the Eastern Wisdom tradition of Buddhism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for those on a spiritual path February 12, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a facinating book with a spiritual lift, and wonderful medical/scientific studies which support the best effects of mindfulness and centering. Includes a chapter by Fr. Thomas Keating - developer of "Centering Prayer" which offers techniques of contemplative prayer for the present-day lay person.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars very difficult to read June 1, 2013
By Kristen
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Mostly a transcript of meetings that took place. I couldn't get into despite many tries. I would try another book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SPIRITUAL HEALING June 20, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is enlightening. The Dalai Lama is a splendid example of living at our highest vibration while on this planet.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Namaste! If you don't get the brain and meditation, you will now!
These top dogs in meditation enlighten you with personal accounts that will at once, open your mind yet quiet it, too. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Judy Krings, Ph.D., CMC, PCC
4.0 out of 5 stars Should be "required reading" for thinking people
Mental training/ mind training should be a required activity in schools and this method seems
creditable to me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Robert William Kirkpatrick
4.0 out of 5 stars Dry but still the Dali
A little dry and scientific but His Holiness still shines through! A worthwhile read in looking at how mindfulness can have a massive impact on our world
Published 5 months ago by Lynda Read
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply fascinating
Simply fascinating, and I say this from a physicians point of view, but everyone can enjoy it. A must read.
Published 6 months ago by jessica lazerov, MD
4.0 out of 5 stars Good intro for the science behind meditation
If you are new to meditation, or new the science behind how meditation works, then this book will provide you with some knowledge to help you understand the value of meditation and... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Raychel
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful reading
I believe in the power of our mind. Healing is an essential part of that in so many ways. Not only in a physical realm, but in a deeper mental state. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Sharon D.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mind's Own Physician
This book reviews scientific work being conducted in the U.S. researching the benefits found in meditative practices in Buddhism. Read more
Published 11 months ago by S. W. Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars Worldly insight
Remarkable book that has inspired me to change my lifestyle and read more books by the authors and others in the practice of mindfulness.
Published 11 months ago by Stephen Burr
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good for people who have doubts on the benefits of meditation.
Interesting book to realize the benefits of meditation. Recommended for people interested in meditation to see how beneficial for body and mind is. Read more
Published 18 months ago by guille
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Very interesting to see the responses of the Dalai Lama to the various different professionals and academicians... A highly recommended read.
Published 18 months ago by William
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