The John Templeton Foundation has awarded a grant of $2.3 million over three years to continue and extend the Shamatha Project, the most comprehensive investigation yet conducted into the effects of intensive meditation training on mind and body.
The Shamatha Project is led by Clifford Saron, associate research scientist at the Center for Mind and Brain and MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis.
This inaugural Templeton Prize Research Grant, "Quantifiable Constituents of Spiritual Growth," was announced Nov. 18 during a special session at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Chicago in honor of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, winner of the 2012 Templeton Prize, who gave a videotaped presentation.
"This project represents a true long-term perspective on the developmental consequences of intensive meditation training. Nothing quite like this has been done before," Saron said.
At several meetings sponsored by the Massachusetts-based Mind and Life Institute, Saron has presented results from the Shamatha Project to the Dalai Lama, who has endorsed the project. Saron and his colleagues have also shared results from this research with scientific and lay audiences around the world.
"The Shamatha project is a remarkable scientific odyssey that is changing our understanding not only of how contemplative practices may affect human cognition, emotion and brain function, but also how we view the relationship between mental function and health. This major award from the Templeton Foundation will help Dr. Saron and our team expand the boundaries of this innovative research," said Ron Mangun, dean of the Division of Social Sciences at UC Davis and a co-investigator on the grant.
With the new funding, Saron, project co-director Bajinder Sahdra, a former postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis and now a lecturer at the University of Western Sydney in Australia, Mangun and their colleagues wi
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University of California - Davis