What Science and Buddha Agree On

by Puja Shah

What Science and Buddha Agree On

Anatta, the not-self, is a Buddhist belief that centers around the concept that there is no consistent self. The belief that we are the same one moment to the next, or one year to the next, is a delusion.

This belief has recently been confirmed by science.

Neuroscience has been interested in Buddhism since the late 1980s, when the Mind and Life Institute was created by HH Dalai Lama and a team of scientists. Back then, the science that came out of those first studies gave validation to what ancient monks have known for years — that if you train your mind, you can change your brain.

As neuroscience has begun studying the mind, they have looked to those who have mastered the mind.

Evan Thompson of the University of British Columbia conducted the research saying that “the brain and body is constantly in flux. There is nothing that corresponds to the sense that there’s an unchanging self.” 

Here is an example...

Look at a video of yourself from the past, or read something you wrote many years ago. Your interests, perspective, beliefs, relationships, and even more probably have all changed in some way. 

Anatta doesn’t really mean there’s no you; it just means that you are constantly changing, constantly evolving and changing in life's flow.

Meditation psychologist Tara Brach says, our thoughts are “real, but not true.”

This is very liberating. When we can grow and change, we aren't stuck in the same place or within self limiting beliefs we had. We can navigate towards who we more want to be. 

Puja Shah

Puja Shah is a philanthropist and visionary poet who shares her voice with us through written and spoken word, guided meditations, and teaching. She reaches out to community health clinics and provides international outreach to women and children around the world.



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