Can meditation promote compassion and kindness?

If you haven’t read about the Dalai Lama’s scientific investigations into how meditation changes our brains, you might find this story in the NY Times particularly unusual.

Dalai Lama Donates to Center in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. — They say money can’t buy happiness — but it can finance the research.

When Richard Davidson, then a psychology doctoral student in the 1970s, told his advisers at Harvard that he planned to study the power of meditation, the scholars winced.

“They patted me on the knee,” recalled Dr. Davidson, now a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, “and said, ‘Richie, this is not a good way to start a scientific career.’ ”

Dr. Davidson would one day find a mentor with a different frame of mind: the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan spiritual leader recently announced plans to donate $50,000 to the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at Madison, a new research lab founded by Dr. Davidson, which is studying whether meditation can promote compassion and


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