I recently received this from the Shamatha Project, which will be a rather sophisticated look at 'transcendence style meditation' using all the methodologies in current brain research. You also might be interested in the Neuroscientists who are spearheading the Mind and Life Project:

The Dalai Lama has held annual meetings with leading scientists and a number of these meetings have been published, detailing the research.

Anyway, there's a lot out there, here's what I most recently received:

Subject: Shamatha Project Update and 3 week long retreats in the Summer and Fall
Date: April 11, 2006 10:15:11 PM EDT

Dear SBI Friends,

As some of you know, the Shamatha Project is now swiftly moving forward.
 Dr. Wallace recently sent out a letter, along with an endorsement from
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to over 2,000 Dharma centers and other
interested groups informing them about the project.  To qualify as a
participant one has to have participated in at least one-week long
shamatha retreat with Dr. Wallace, and in order to allow people to
fulfill this requirement we have planned three shamatha retreats this
summer and this fall.

We have also purchased full-page ads in BuddhaDharma, Tricycle, and
Mandala Magazine to recruit participants, and the three retreats will be
advertised in these magazines as well.  The main purpose of the retreats
is to prepare potential participants for the Shamatha Project, though as
Dr. Wallace says below, the retreats are open to anyone interested.

Many people wished to sign up for the Cultivating the Heart and Mind
course that the Santa Barbara Institute offered in March but were unable
to because the retreat facilities couldn't accommodate any more people,
and we apologize for not being able to allow them to attend. So, because
of this, we strongly encourage anyone who knows they can attend one of
the three retreats to sign up at their earliest convenience. The ads are
coming out in May and we anticipate an increase in registration at that

More information about the three retreats can be found at

Additionally, Dr. Wallace's new book, The Attention Revolution:
Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind (Wisdom Publications), has been
published.  This book is extremely relevant for anyone interested in
participating in either a week long shamatha retreat or the Shamatha
Project itself.


"I am delighted at the progress being made in developing the Shamatha
Project, a scientific study designed to examine the effects of
long-term, intensive practice of shamatha together with the four
immeasurable qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy
and equanimity.”

— His Holiness the Dalai Lama, January 31, 2006

Dear friends and colleagues,

We are writing to let you know about the Shamatha Project, a study we
are launching designed to research the benefits of intensive meditation
practice. We are inviting meditation students of all traditions and
levels of practice to participate in this extensive research project,
hence our contacting you. This scientific study of attention,
introspection and the cultivation of the heart is being co-sponsored by
the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies, the Center for
Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis, and Shambhala
Mountain Center.

I will guide participants in various forms of shamatha practice drawn
from the Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions. Instruction will
also be offered on the cultivation of the Four Immeasurables
(loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity). This
promises to be a unique opportunity for students to deepen their
meditation practice while simultaneously making a great contribution to

Over a three-month retreat period, participants will devote themselves
to meditating for eight to ten hours daily under my guidance. They will
also work with a team of neuroscientists and psychologists from the
University of California led by Dr. Clifford Saron, shortly before,
during and after this intensive retreat.

We are looking for sixty-four individuals with varying degrees of
meditative experience to participate in this study. Participants will be
randomly selected between two retreats (February 27 – June 3, 2007, and
September 3 – December 8, 2007), both of which will take place at
Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, CO. Participants will be
responsible for the cost of housing and food, which is estimated to be
the discounted price of $5,820 (Shambhala Mountain is subsidizing the

As a first step, participants will be asked to complete a one-week
retreat with me prior to the commencement of the study if they have not
already done so. Upcoming retreats include

Mission Renewal Center, Santa Barbara, CA, June 25 – July 2, 2006
Shambhala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, CO, July 22 – 29, 2006
Menla Mountain Retreat & Conference Center, Phoenicia, NY, September 5
– 12, 2006

While open to the general public, these one-week retreats will provide
an opportunity for those interested in the Shamatha Project to get more
familiar with the program content and with me as an instructor.

To sign up for these one of these retreats or to obtain more details
regarding this study, participant requirements and the application
process, we encourage those interested to visit our web site at
www.shambhalamountain.org/shamatha. They can also call us at (888)
STUPA-21 (9am-5pm Mountain Time).

We are excited and honored to be involved in this project, which will
hopefully contribute to the well-being of all sentient beings.

With best wishes,

B. Alan Wallace, President
Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies

On Apr 14, 2006, at 3:58 PM, Dharma Mitra wrote:

Does anyone have information about brain studies, or any other allopathic studies of TM and the brain or yoga, mediation, chi kung, reiki and the brain?  What concerns would you have if you, your friends and loved ones or your organizaiton(s) were involved with these practices and brain research?
Given all the State and Defense Department and corporate research into exploiting people and the masses as a whole, I'm a bit concerned about how to put constraints on any such subtle brain/mind/body research, though I want to move ahead in this research. 
What are your thoughts regarding solutions to pursue and preserve such research for humanity and facilitate our forward march toward subtler realms in human evolution through yoga, meditation and such?  Respond to me privately if you prefer. 

Dharma Mitra

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