Buddha’s Brain


I have added Buddha’s Brain, (Hanson/Mendius – New Harbinger Publications, Inc, 2009) to the recommended reading list.  The following is my review.


Buddha’s Brain is authored by neuropsychologist Rick Hanson and neurologist Richard Mendius. Hanson is also a meditation teacher, and Mendius is also cofounder of Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom.   These fellows give a relatively easy to follow sum up of what developments in science have taught us about the function of the brain.  They also, through work with Buddhist contemplative practice masters tested for neurological and hormonal/chemical patterns created by decisions of the being, detail how the brain – and thus the body – is affected by thought.  

Buddha’s Brain provides great food for thought and correlation to those trained in Dianetics and Scientology.  The authors’ description of science’s 2009 understanding of the human brain is remarkably consistent with L. Ron Hubbard’s 1950 description of the reactive mind in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.   They describe the brain as being hardwired for avoiding danger, taking precedence over behavior/action patterns that seek pleasure or reward.   They describe how transcendent states attained through contemplative practice – their main frame of reference being Buddhism – erase reactive neuron channels and create new, more analytical, intelligent and rational ones.

Just as Scientology was somewhat vague in differentiating between the Thetan (spirit) and the mind and nearly mute on the subject of the brain, the authors of Buddha’s Brain are somewhat vague on differentiating between brain and mind, and never label that which is making the decisions that are creating a better functioning mind/brain.  To get hung up on such difficulties with constructs describing that which is invisible to the eye and physical measures would be to miss the forest for the trees.

Hard core Scientologists, if they could muster the curiosity or courage to read the book, would likely heavily tune out somewhere in the last 2/3rds of it.  That is because the material for the most part prescribes contemplative practice that the authors claim demonstrably reforms the brain/mind.  To react in such wise would be a mistake in my view.  To read it, for example, might lead to some insights into why running pleasure moments, as in Self Analysis by L. Ron Hubbard, is so therapeutic.  Could it be that Scientology processes do far more good than L. Ron Hubbard even knew given the relatively archaic state of science in his day?   One thing is for sure, those who are afraid to look will never know.

161 responses to “Buddha’s Brain

  1. Jean-François Genest

    Thank you for the info and review. I will read it. I placed a reservation for it with my public library. The two copies available are already out.

    Buddha’s Brain was published in 2009. I saw that Rick Hanson has another book published later in 2011 titled « Just one thing: developing a Buddha brain one simple practice at a time » Perhaps it is an expansion on the first book.

  2. Different subject but Is there any updates on Class V org stats? Anyone still keeping track of the “auditors made” stat via the mag completion lists for example? I’m sure many are curious about this. Thanks.

    • One of those who see

      Stats are awful. Here are some stats from the NY ORG Day & Fnd which are supposed to be “Ideal” & St. Hill Size.
      Academy courses: Student Hat 1, Trs & Objectives 1, Pro Trs 2, PTS/SP 1, Hubbard Sr Sec Checker Course 1.
      Processing: Method One 1, Purif 3, Objectives 1, Happiness Rundown 2, Scn Drug Rndwn 1, ARC St Wire expanded 1, Expanded Grade one 1, expanded grade two 4, expanded grade four 3, solo auditor course part one 1.

      Plus various Golden Age of Knowledge, Intro service and Life Improvement course graduates. I believe this is over a few months. A former staff member of an org told me they sent these out every three months.

  3. Geeze Christ David, your P.R, Flaps are on the front of the International Business Times. Sure wish Mary Sue could see what a mess you have made of things with YOUR crimes! She stands like a Saint against the backdrop of the out P.R. against the Church generated on YOUR watch!


  4. What an interesting sounding book! Of course you are SUCH a squirrel for recommending reading books by anyone other than LRH……even though LRH recommended other authors himself.
    The COS may not want Scientologists to read books like this to get data, but meanwhile they won’t even accept people for auditing who have had brain damage.
    This book sounds interesting to me because obviously there is some connection between beings with human bodies and the body’s brain. Obviously, if someone gets konked on the head they usually have an interruption of their perceptions of the physical universe. So, the brain can effect the being. Looks like these guys have found some actual physical evidence that the being can also effect the brain. And that happens to align perfectly with the theta-mest theory. If Miscavige was really a Scientologist, or if he had a sincere interest in others acquiring wisdom like LRH, HE would be encouraging others to make inquiries such as this so that they could validate (or not) Scientology principles and data. But instead it is left up to you, Marty. And your friends.
    Which demonstates yet another scientific principle: Nature abhors a vacuum!
    Thanks for posting this, Marty.
    It is so sane to be able to simply LOOK.
    I seem to remember that Jesus said something to the effect of, “Ye who look, the same shall see.”
    Oops, there I go “squirreling”..

  5. Though you can meditate on a single thought for the most part meditation is a practise of clearing one’s mind of all the incessant chatter the mind likes to do and just be in the present moment. Be here. That is what I always believed TRs (training routines) were about. Be here in the moment and confront without going the effect. People who work in the EMS (emergency medical services) tend to have good TRs, they have to in order to be effective. Imagine if everyone had that level of being in the present and level of confront. That is what I believe the goal was of doing TRs. It was not about “staring” or “being in a trance”. What is TR0 but meditation and being fully in the moment?

    It’s also worth noting that science has already shown that areas of the brain that are not stimulated suffer a shrink in synapses and/or loose synapses connectivity. Like roots of a tree that no longer get nourishment from a particular spot of ground shrink away from it. The reverse is also true. You can rebuild the brain’s connectivity with the right stimulation.

    That’s why it’s difficult for chronically depressed people to “snap out of it” as oppose to someone who is generally happy but just happened to have a bad day. That is also why someone who is generally unhappy can be put into a happier healthier environment and show improvement after a period of time.

  6. B.R.E.N.D.A. S.P.E.N.C.E.R

    I am privileged to have a list of books referenced by LRH in PLs, HCOBs, tapes, lectures, etc. The list was compiled by a Scientologist in Clearwater who owned a bookstore and had a love of anything ever written or uttered by LRH. He spent years compiling the list citing the references and including a quote of what LRH said about the book.

    Since the subject of reading other materials has taken up a considerable amount of space on the blog of late and there is even a recommended reading list on the site, I can’t really think of a better reading list than studying the materials LRH read. Some of the books on the site’s recommended reads are on LRH’s list. LRH’s list is much longer though!

    I know there have been many thousands of books published since LRH’s death and I am sure many contain valuable and thought provoking viewpoints. At the same time, there is much to be gained from studying what the source of the tech studied. It broadens one’s understanding of how the technology was evolved.

    I would like to make this list broadly available to anyone interested and would be happy to see it posted here and in other places on the internet that people frequent. It has been gathering dust in the filing cabinet. I would like to remedy that by having others appreciate the years of loving work that went into compiling this list and also have others enjoy the works recommended by LRH himself. It pays tribute to Virgil Wilhite to make his list known.

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