Many wonder how the Dalai Lama can retain his kindness and magnanimity, even as his homeland is torn apart by violence. New neuroscience research may help explain the exiled Tibetan leader's unremitting compassion for all people.
Meditation may increase a person's ability to feel empathy and benevolence for others, according to a study published March 26 in the journal PLoS ONE.
Scientists asked subjects — both expert meditators and novices — to practice compassion meditation while inside a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine (MRI). The participants heard sounds designed to provoke an empathetic response, such as a distressed woman calling out, as well as positive sounds (a baby laughing) and neutral sounds (background noise at a restaurant).