Dharma Gates

A Semester of Contemplative Training


On compassion meditation:

“the study was the first to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to indicate that positive emotions such as loving-kindness and compassion can be learned in the same way as playing a musical instrument or being proficient in a sport. The scans revealed that brain circuits used to detect emotions and feelings were dramatically changed in subjects who had extensive experience practicing compassion meditation(Lutz et al. 2008)”[1]

“For example, when meditation “experts” watched videos of other people suffering, functional magnetic resonance image (fMRI) scans of their brains showed heightened activity primarily in structures that are important to care, nurturance, and positive social affiliation—that is, brain regions that orient them toward the well-being of other people.

In non-meditators, the videos of suffering were more likely to engage brain structures that support unpleasant feelings, such as sadness, aversion, or pain—which, in turn, makes people distressed and want to remove themselves from the situation.” [2]


[1] https://news.wisc.edu/study-shows-compassion-meditation-changes-the-brain/

[2] https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/three_insights_from_the_frontiers_of_the_mind