網路城邦
回本城市首頁 修練
市長:麥芽糖  副市長: 菩堤心
加入本城市推薦本城市加入我的最愛訂閱最新文章
udn城市情感交流心靈【修練】城市/討論區/
討論區學者研究 字體:
看回應文章  上一個討論主題 回文章列表 下一個討論主題
打坐生慈悲? 達賴受邀演說 美神經學會內訌
 瀏覽1,577|回應1推薦0

麥芽糖
等級:8
留言加入好友
 
 
 2005.10.20  中國時報
打坐生慈悲? 達賴受邀演說 美神經學會內訌
潘勛/紐約時報十九日電

    美國「神經科學學會」預計下個月在華府舉辦年會,會中邀請西藏流亡精神領袖達賴喇嘛前來演講,談論打坐能否讓腦部產生慈悲與正面念頭,但多名腦科專家已聯名提起動議,敦促學會取消達賴的演說,理由是不夠科學客觀。

    五百餘名專家反對 認不科學

    五百四十四名腦科專家連署反對邀請達賴演說,認為,這會「凸顯無法驗證的說法,有損科學的謹嚴與客觀」。新澤西州「羅伯特伍德強森醫學院」神經生物學家海耶絲博士表示,學界有責任,至少必須觀察到神經科學的研究能複製,才能加以提倡、推崇。

    但是不少支持邀請達賴的科學家表示,反對陣營的許多同儕是中國人或華裔人士,是出於政治理由而持異議。

    最近十年,科學家及新聞界對打坐冥思及「正念」興趣日增,即內在意識凝聚集中的狀態,這些命題本來是秘術術士與宗教隱修的範疇。長久以來,達賴喇嘛與一小群科學家合作,探究佛教徒的打坐如何能影響心境,促進祥和感受及悲天憫人。

    打坐能獲正面感受 研究遭質疑

    美國威斯康辛-麥迪遜大學達衛森博士二○○三年率領團隊進行研究,發現一家生技公司廿五名員工接受打坐課程之後,大腦的左顳葉區神經活動大為增加。研究團隊指出,該腦部特定區域在人有快樂等正面感受時會很活躍;這份報告曾廣獲報導。

    二○○四年,達賴喇嘛協助成立的非營利「心靈與生命機構」資助實驗,專家追蹤八名西藏僧侶打坐時的腦波狀態,當時據稱僧侶進入「無條件仁愛慈悲之境」。包括達衛森博士在內的專家使用電子掃描器,發現僧侶腦中產出形態強烈的伽馬波,即腦細胞共振,與注意力集中及情緒控制有關。而一組十名正在學習打坐的大學生產出的伽馬波則弱得多。

    現任威斯康辛大學「情感神經科學實驗室」主任的達衛森博士表示,總結這些研究顯示,「諸如慈悲及利他等人類特質,或多或少可以視為技能,可以由心靈訓練而改善。」

    但提議反對達賴演說的神經科學家則質疑:首先,達衛森博士以及他數名研究同伴自己都在打坐,與達賴合作多年。達衛森表示,說服達賴接受演說邀約的人就是他,而且達賴接獲邀約時,他也在場。

    理事長不顧反對 活動將照辦

    反對派科學家也指出,二○○四年實驗有瑕疵,連研究人員自己都承認,受測僧侶年紀比大學生要老上十二到四十五歲,年齡可能造成很大差別。受測的學生是打坐的初學者,在時限當中,很可能因焦慮或者技巧不足,無法入定,而改變腦波形態。此外,僧侶開始打坐之前,是否已嫻熟製造出高伽馬波活動,更無由得知。

    只是,神經科學學會理事長巴恩絲博士表示,她不會取消達賴的演說,或改變會程,打坐是人類的活動,達賴精通此道,也擅長提倡和平與慈悲等有助人類團結的特質。




回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘

引用
引用網址:http://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=3097&aid=1421438
 回應文章
Scientists Bridle at Lecture Plan for Dalai Lama
推薦0


麥芽糖
等級:8
留言加入好友

 
 http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/19/college/coll19meditate.html

Scientists Bridle at Lecture Plan for Dalai Lama

Published: October 19, 2005

The Dalai Lama, the exiled leader of Tibet who is revered as a spiritual teacher, is at the center of a scientific controversy.

He has been an enthusiastic collaborator in research on whether the intense meditation practiced by Buddhist monks can train the brain to generate compassion and positive thoughts. Next month in Washington, the Dalai Lama is scheduled to speak about the research at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. 

Mel Evans/Associated Press

The Dalai Lama has helped researchers study meditation.

But 544 brain researchers have signed a petition urging the society to cancel the lecture, because, according to the petition, "it will highlight a subject with largely unsubstantiated claims and compromised scientific rigor and objectivity."

Defenders of the Dalai Lama's appearance say that the motivation of many protesters is political, because many are Chinese or of Chinese descent. The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after the Chinese crushed a Tibetan bid for independence.

But many scientists who signed the petition say they did so because they believe that the field of neuroscience risks losing credibility if it ventures too recklessly into spiritual matters.

"As the public face of neuroscience, we have a responsibility to at least see that research is replicated before it is promoted and highlighted," said Dr. Nancy Hayes, a neurobiologist at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey who objects to the Dalai Lama's speaking. "If we don't do that, we may as well be the Flat Earth Society."

In the past decade, scientists and journalists have increasingly taken interest in meditation and "mindfulness," a related state of focused inner awareness, topics once left to weekend mystics and religious retreats. The Dalai Lama has been working with a small number of researchers to study how the practice of Buddhist contemplation affects moods and promotes a sense of peace and compassion.

In one widely reported 2003 study, Dr. Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison led a team of researchers that found that 25 employees of a biotechnology company showed increased levels of neural activity in the left anterior temporal region of their brains after taking a course in meditation. The region is active during sensations of happiness and positive emotion, the researchers reported.

In a 2004 experiment supported by the Mind and Life Institute, a nonprofit organization that the Dalai Lama helped establish, and also involving Dr. Davidson, investigators tracked brain waves in eight Tibetan monks as they meditated in a state of "unconditional loving-kindness and compassion."

Using an electronic scanner, the researchers found that the monks were producing a very strong pattern of gamma waves, a synchronized oscillation of brain cells that is associated with concentration and emotional control. A group of 10 college students who were learning to meditate produced a much weaker gamma signal.

Taken together, the studies suggest that "human qualities like compassion and altruism may in some sense be regarded as skills which can be improved through mental training," said Dr. Davidson, who is director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin.

Yet the neuroscientists who have signed the petition say that there are several problems with this research. First, they say, Dr. Davidson and some of his colleagues meditate themselves, and they have collaborated with the Dalai Lama for years. Dr. Davidson said he had helped persuade the spiritual leader to accept the society's invitation to speak, and was with him when he received the request.

The critics also point out that there are flaws in the 2004 experiment that the researchers have acknowledged: The monks being studied were 12 to 45 years older than the students, and age could have accounted for some of the differences. The students, as beginners, may have been anxious or simply not skilled enough to find a meditative state in the time allotted, which would alter their brain wave patterns. And there was no way to know if the monks were adept at generating high gamma wave activity before they ever started meditating.

"This paper has not tested the idea whether meditation promotes compassion or any kind of positive emotion," Dr. Yi Rao, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University who helped draft the petition and was one of the sharpest critics, said in an e-mail message.

"Nonetheless, advocates of Buddhism and meditation have confused the public with the claim that this idea has received scientific proof," Dr. Rao said. "If one reads the published scientific literature, it is not difficult to see that this claim is far from being proven. It will not hurt if the public also realizes that some researchers are declared believers playing dual roles as advocates and researchers."

In a telephone interview, Dr. Davidson said that the critics' assertions were overblown, given that the field of study was in its infancy and the studies so far had been exploratory.

"I wouldn't consider myself a Buddhist or a card-carrying zealot at all," Dr. Davidson said. "My first commitment is as a scientist to uncover the truth about all this."

He said it was "ridiculous" to suggest that neuroscientists should shy away from topics just because they were difficult to study.

Many of his colleagues agree.

"This research is a first pass on a new topic, and you just can't do perfect science the first time through," said Dr. Robert Wyman, a neurobiologist at Yale. "You get curious about something and you mess around. That's what science is in the beginning, you mess around."

Fair enough, say some scientists who have signed the petition, but neuroscientists must be extra careful with such subjects. The field is already trying to manage a deeply mystifying presence: the brain, which in some ways is still as dark as deepest space.

The scientists point out that scans showing areas of the brain that light up during emotions like jealousy or guilt are fascinating but that their significance is still unclear. And in their laboratories, some investigators who plan to attend the neuroscience meetings are trying to find the neural traces of consciousness itself, a notoriously disorienting quest that has led more than one enterprising scientist into a philosophical fog.

"Neuroscience more than other disciplines is the science at the interface between modern philosophy and science," wrote one neuroscientist on the petition, Dr. Zvani Rossetti of the University of Cagliari in Italy. He added, "No opportunity should be given to anybody to use neuroscience for supporting transcendent views of the world."

One thing certain about the Dalai Lama's scheduled talk is that he will not lack for an audience. Neuroscientists around the world have been intensely debating the event, and Dr. Carol Barnes, president of the neuroscience society, says she will not cancel the talk or change the schedule.

"The practice of meditation is a human behavior, and the Dalai Lama is extraordinarily skilled at it and at promoting qualities of peace and compassion that I thought could bring us together," said Dr. Barnes, a professor of psychology and neurology at the University of Arizona who invited the Dalai Lama to speak last February. "That's not the way it's gone so far."




回應 回應給此人 推薦文章 列印 加入我的文摘
引用網址:http://city.udn.com/forum/trackback.jsp?no=3097&aid=1421439