What Neuroscience Can Learn From Buddhism

By , UniversityHerald Reporter

Buddhism and neuroscience are worlds apart, two ideas that can never mesh. Buddhism uses faith in the unseen while neuroscience demands facts to prove the existence of things. However, neuroscientists are discovering that they have a lot to learn from Buddhism.

Recently, neuroscience has to concede, maybe grudgingly, that Buddhism was right all along when it comes to the concept of the changing mind. The Buddhists call it anicca, the concept that everything is impermanent and constantly changing. Thus, Buddhists believe that life is a continuous becoming.

This concept is liberating because it brings an awareness that a person is not defined by what they think or their perception of themselves. With this awareness, there is a sense of positivism because it gives the person hope that they are constantly evolving into something better. Moreover, it gives hope that the possibilities to change themselves are endless.

Armed with the same belief that life is like a river continuously flowing, Buddhists do not attach themselves to things because they believe that when they do, they are going against the forces of the universe by controlling something to become stable.

Neuroscience also holds the same belief but they put it in a more scientific and rather complicated way. They call this state of impermanence neuroplasticity, which shows that the brain is malleable and can be easily molded to change opening yourself to great possibilities for growth.

Neuroplasticity also shows that from the time we are born and until we die, our brains continue to rewire itself finding new neural pathways to adjust to our changing needs. This process is what allows people to adapt to the different experiences they have.

This and other recent discoveries in science show that ancient wisdom has still a lot of things to teach science. In fact, it might even hold some of the truths already that science has been trying to pursue all this time.

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