The Buddha and other great teachers were born with brains built essentially like anyone else’s - and then they changed their brains in ways that changed the world.
Science is now revealing how the flow of thoughts actually sculpts the brain. By combining breakthroughs in neuroscience with insights from thousands of years of contemplative practice, you, too, can use your mind to shape your brain for greater happiness, love, and wisdom.
Buddha’s Brain draws on the latest research to show how to stimulate and strengthen your brain for more fulfilling relationships, a deeper spiritual life, and a greater sense of inner confidence and worth. You’ll learn how to activate the brain states of calm, joy, and compassion instead of worry, sorrow, and anger. This clear, down-to-earth book is filled with practical tools and skills that you can use in daily life to tap the unused potential of your brain and rewire it over time for greater well-being and peace of mind.
©2009 Rick Hanson (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
In Buddha's Brain, Hanson and Mendius relate the emerging knowledge of neurological science to the teachings of the Buddha. Audible makes a number of very good books available on neurophysiology and neuroplasticity and this is a welcome addition to that group. It is helpful and provides ample insights to perhaps make it worth the listener’s time. Unfortunately, for me at least, the approach was too superficial to be helpful. The book sheds a little light on the teachings of the Buddha, a little understanding into how we can relax and the neurological response, and a little insight into what this all means neurophysiologically. The result, personally, was a superficial presentation of all these topics. If you are interested in a contemporary interpretation of Buddhist practice, this book could be informative. If you are interested in where current scientific inquiry is leading us in brain science, there are other books you might seek out first from Audible. The book is well organized and written. The narration of Alan Jones is very good.
I'm famiilar with Rick Hanson and admire his work very much. I recently attended his all-day seminar on the Science of Well-Being, and he's a great speaker. Sadly, Rick Hanson did not narrate his own audio book. Instead, the book is narrated by a man who doesn't seem to understand anything about the subject matter, and who presents the material in the most bland, stiff and least engaging way possible. Very unlike the real author who is a great speaker. Therefore, I am very disappointed by the audio book version of Buddha's Brain. I wish I had gotten the regular print version instead.
This was a very refreshing and palatable "listen". Which was a great suprise, as they cover quite a bit of useful material, effortlessly. You will listen to this more than once.
Book is good but should have been read by author.
Lacks emotion/passion necessary to hold my attention while listening.
Bland and monotone.
The content requires little deep thought or processing and is presented in a very gradual fashion. The narrator stretches a 2 hour read into a 6 plus hour listen. If you value your time listen @ 2x speed.
I thought the first half of the book that explains the neurophysiology of emotions was well-done and very helpful, particularly from the meditators point of view. The second half of the book seemed to have way more meditation instructions (which I've seen explained better elsewhere) which diffused the understanding of what's going on in the brain. And frankly, the narrator got hard to listen to over time. I found myself not being as mindful to listening to the book as I had intended.
I was really looking forward to listening to this book, as I really like Rick Hanson's work and what he has to offer. Unfortunately, the narrator of this book is an unbelievable bore; he reads the book in a way that makes it almost impossible for the listener(me) to become (and stay) engaged. Who chose this robot, I mean guy, to read???
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
This book is purely wonderful. It is filled with cutting edge information about the brain and studies that show how meditation changes the brain in positive ways. I have read the (paper) book several times. I have also listened to the original CDs that came out to accompany the book, which were read by the authors. The book and CDs are among the most treasured books/CDs in my collection. Learning ways to calm oneself through specific techniques that not only give short term, but also long term relief and happiness is a powerful experience.
However, for reasons I can not possibly imagine, something happened between the CDs coming out (read by authors) and the audible version--read by a different narrator. It may not matter to someone who has never heard the originals before, but I love especially to listen to Rick Hanson--and it is too jarring to have to listen to a different person narrate this. (To my ear, it is read too rapidly and too flatly). The material is great--but not this narration. (Or not to someone who has listened to the authors themselves). If this is your first exposure to this book and authors, it might not matter, but it did to me, since I am long familiar with the voices of the authors themselves, and it seemed a sad switch.
I wouldn't listen to Buddha's Brain again. Once was enough. I bookmarked all of the keys points and may return to them from time to time. That was a nice additon, which I appreciate it.
It wasn't a story. I listened to this to learn. I wouldn't changed anything because I don't have the answers. I bought this to get answers, to get the author's opinions.
The narration is too sing-songy (and dreadfully slow) for my taste. I find that he often placed emphasis on the wrong words and on the wrong parts of sentences (and some words were mispronounced). It feels like the reader tried too hard to make it sound conversational, resulting in many sentences coming across whiny. Overall, overacted.
I appreciated the chapter on empathy.
I find it ironic that so many reviewers are brutal to the narrator when one of the main tenets of the books is empathy. The attacks feel personal (or worse). I think the critiques are also wrong. The narrator does not read in a monotone, the main complaint of most negative reviews. If anything, he reads too sing-songy. He most certainly does not read in a monotone. However, I find that he often places emphasis on the wrong words and on the wrong parts of sentences in context of the point the author is trying to make. Rather than monotone, I feel the reader tried too hard to change his pitch and generally read the text melodramatically. Many sentences come across as whiny or patronizing or condescending because they are read with too much change in pitch. It sounds overacted and it was very distracting. But monotone? No. What I wonder is where was the author and where was the director or producer? Wouldn't it be their jobs to give the narrator the vision, direction, guidance, coaching and correction needed?
"Nutritious food for the mind"
This is an outstanding audio book. I have have listened to this many times and on each occassion always draw something new from it that can be internalised and applied to my daily life.
The meditation techniques on compassion and loving kindness are well explained. Many of these techniques can be applied to your family and working life, developing compassion towards others and yourself.
We are reminded that it is human nature to harbour negative thoughts, like velcro and resist positive thoughts like Teflon. The trick is to turn this negative bias on its head and practice the very opposite - not easy to do! The greatest challenge though, as many listeners may no doubt find, is developing the ability to forgive. This book shows you how and why.
A great listening experience!
"Ancient wisdom meets cutting edge neuroscience"
As a consultant psychiatrist with a personal interest in meditation and aspects of spirituality - especially Buddhism, I found this book very helpful on several levels. It makes current research on brain functioning understandable and accessible. It also acted - at a low key level - as a reminder of various aspects of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. But if that sounds daunting and off putting - don't be. Those aspects of the book are not essential, and can easily be "glossed over".
The core of the book is a very practical and manageable approach to how to start a programme of self development that could make a real difference in the lives of any of us. It provides really simple exercises and ideas that if followed would undoubtedly make life more fulfilling and positive for any of us irrespective of any religious or philosophical beliefs we may have. The hard bit of course - like any exercises - is practicing them consistently over time until the benefits are experienced.
Whilst this book is new to me (obviously), I am very aware of the need to look on the work of self improvement as something to work on consistently over time - ultimately of course over a lifetime. Something as important and worthwhile as feeling better about myself is not something that will happen overnight. The great thing about this book is that it gives a different (not necessarily "correct") angle on the practical and scientific aspects of that great task.
This is undoubtedly a book to read over and over again. I also think it would be worth having in print format to allow the material another "channel" through which to be absorbed.
So, go on - read it - do it! The world will be happier for it if you do.
"practical advice for being happier"
I liked the link between the science and the buddhist practice. I found the narrator's gravelly american accent a bit grating though his intonations helped with getting the authors intended message.
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