Contemplative neuroscience research, collaborative research between meditative adepts and neuroscientists, has been ongoing at research centers such as: University of Wisconsin www.investigatinghealthyminds.org, Stanford University ccare.stanford.edu, Mind and Life Institute www.mindandlife.org, and Emory University, Harvard, at universities in India and elsewhere, for over the past two decades. Left pre-frontal cortex brain activity is now known to be associated with feelings of happiness and well-being. A graph (below) showing results by Prof. Richard Davidson, at the University of Wisconsin, depicts left/right pre-frontal cortex activity for one meditation adept compared with 150 ordinary untrained people. The meditation adept lies 4.5 standard deviations outside the bell curve, for increased left pre-frontal cortical activity. This is an objective neurological measure of a subject's mental health status.
|Prof. Davidson & Mattheiu Ricard (L to R)|
From "Habits of Happiness" by Matthieu Ricard, below:
The above photo depicts Khandro La Tseringma in a trance state. Hence, we can see two Tibetan state oracles in both waking or ordinary, and trance mental states.
|Nechung oracle in trance|
|Nechung oracle, Kuten La|
|Khandro La Tseringma|
When a monk develops srok-rlung, the other monks stop their meditation and study, and play sho, a traditional dice game, together with the afflicted monk, until he gradual reconnects with gross consciousness and ordinary reality. The monks will play with him daily, every other day, every third day, until the condition is gradually resolved. Tibetan medical doctors also treat rlung disorders with herbs, massage, nutrition, mantras and medicinal incenses. Lamas, Tibetan spiritual teachers, may also perform purifying rituals for a person diagnosed with srok-rlung. Mental illness is rare in Tibet.
|Tibetan medicine prescribed for srok-rlung|
Regarding Tibetan medicine, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, "Tibetan medicine is an integrated system of health care that has served the Tibetan people well for many centuries and which, I believe, can still provide much benefit to humanity at large. The difficulty we face in bringing this about is one of communication, for like other scientific systems, Tibetan medicine must be understood in its own terms, as well as in the context of objective investigation."
1Based on 7 spontaneous trance (acute transient psychotic) episodes, of these: 2 resolved with 3 days of medication, 2 resolved with 4 days of medication, 2 resolved with a single dosage of medication and 1 resolved with 1 to 5 days of medication (not known precisely).
(A video appeared here by Tsem Tulku, who is not a reliable expert on Tibetan Buddhism. He is affiliated with the disreputable Dolgyal Shugden cult.
For more information on Shugden see http://www.dalailamaprotesters.info/ I apologize for the error.)
Agosin, T. Mysticism and psychosis. Seeds of Unfolding, Vol. VI, No. 4, Fall 1989.
Alei, Ariole K.
- How to recognize trance states? http://ariolealei.com/urlight/?p=464
- What is trance? http://ariolealei.com/urlight/?p=432
- Trance - The inherent wealth of 'altered states of consciousness' http://ariolealei.com/urlight/?p=487
Crowley, N. Psychosis or spiritual emergence? - consideration of the transpersonal perspective within psychiatry. Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK. 2006.
Kuijpers, HJH, van der Heijden, FMMA, Tuinier, S., Verhoeven WMA. Meditation induced psychosis. Psychopathology 40:461-464. 2007.
Lukoff, D. From spiritual emergency to spiritual problem: the transpersonal roots of the new DSM-IV category. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 38:21-50. 1998.
Mind Freedom International
Hearing Voices Network
Foundation for Mental Health Excellence
Free e-books from Emma Bragdon
Spiritual Alliances - Emma Bragdon
UK psychologist thrives after diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia
Integrative residential mental health centers in the USA: ARTA
Men-Tsee-Khang Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute, Dharamsala, India
Robert Whitaker "Anatomy of an Epidemic"
John Rengen Virapen "Side Effects: Death" and other books, and on Youtube
Gwen Olsen "Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher"
Dr. Lobsang Dhondup, Cynthia Husted, Amji Orni Sachs, Geshe Pema Dorjee and other Tibetan doctors and monks.
You may also enjoy reading:
Buddhism: Science of Mind - The Dalai Lama explains about subtle levels of mind.