Meditation Marathon: Buddhist Monk Kogen Kamahori Endures Nine Days of No Food, Drink or Sleep — Social Media Commenters Quick To CriticizeOn Wednesday Oct 21, 2015, Buddhist Monk Kogen Kamahori emerged from a dangerous nine-day ordeal that included no food, no drink and no sleep—while reciting precious sutras. A new study from the National University of Singapore, attempts to differentiate the relative benefits of different types of meditation.
This may not surprise Vajrayana practitioners, who know just how much of the brain must be activated to stabilize a complex visualization, but it may also be good news for people at risk for Alzheimer’s and other cognitive degenerative disorders.
Putting aside the obvious spiritual attainments associated with each path, there are significant differences in health benefits. The complex visualizations required in Vajrayana meditative methods, which can include holding detailed images for long periods of time, dramatically and immediately improve cognitive ability according to research from NUS.
Specifically, Samatha and Vipassana meditation (which are also part of Vajrayana foundation practice) was compared to Vajrayana meditations which included visualization and self-generation-as-Deity and Rigpa.
By contrast, Theravada style meditation produced improved parasympathetic activity, and a decrease in activation of the sympathetic system.
Vajrayana students have long been taught to anchor their practices in Samatha and Vipassana meditation, then, as they advance in their practice to undertake Deity visualizations.
The study conclusively concludes that even one session of Vajrayana deity visualization meditation brings immediate cognitive improvements. The test subjects were all practitioners from Nepal, with years of experience in Tibetan Vajrayana meditation. The purpose of Vajrayana meditation is not to enhance cognitive abilities—but it’s a very nice side effect. An additional area of benefit, from separate studies, is treatment of anxiety or depression. Adding this clinical experience, to this new research on cognitive benefits show added benefits specifically from visualization practice of compassionate Buddha’s. The benefits of practicing properly under a qualified Vajrayana teacher are well established—and the long lasting benefits are clear and sure.

Many studies across decades of research have proven meditation is simply good for the body—and your health. In particular, the research team found that Vajrayana meditation, with Tantric and Deity visualizations, significantly improves cognitive performance. Although most of the study focused on Theravada meditative practices—which are frequently practiced also by Mahayana and Vajrayana practitioners as foundation practices—the study found that Vajrayana meditation added extra layers of cognitive benefits. The tasking tests given to participants revealed sharply enhanced cognitive performance immediately after Vajrayana meditation.
Since Deity visualization practice literally takes years of dedicated practice, it’s easy to assume the long term benefits, considering how well the subjects did in the tests. The meditations require dedication and years of practice from the student under a teacher’s guidance. On the other hand, cognitive benefits should be nearly immediate, even for beginners, who diligently engage the mind with Vajrayana deity visualizations.
To practice most—but not all—Deity visualization meditations Tantric empowerments are required. One of the five foundation practices is Guru Yoga, which may have the same benefits as other Deity visualizations, since this involves visualizations. And, if an additional benefit is a sharp mind, and defence against cognitive disorders, this is fortunate.
The breakthrough study found that Vajrayana meditation showed activation of the sympathetic system.
The challenging practice is proven to improve cognitive abilities almost immediately, but the methods are challenging to learn—and require both a teacher and practice.
This makes Samatha and Vipassana meditation ideal for spiritual contemplation, and stress relief.
However, a student of Vajrayana, practicing both styles of meditation, should see benefits spiritually, mentally and physically.

The researchers will, however, be looking at the effects of short-term exposure to the techniques, probably using naive test subjects who do not have the benefit of years of study.
Although effects can be immediate, from as soon as the first meditation session, it requires long term commitment. After meditation, any tasks involving the brain by Vajrayana meditators, showed marked enhancement. Foundation meditation will anchor practice—and relieve stress—bringing important health benefits. As many Deity meditations are complex —and should be understood correctly—a teaching, empowerment and guidance are important. The beneficial effects of whey protein on satiety, thermogenesis, and lean body mass protection suggest that whey may be a preferred protein source for weight loss treatment. Despite the increasing use of energy healing, few studies have looked at its benefits and even fewer at its underlying mechanisms of action.
This suggests that the beneficial effects of Reiki on physiology, as compared to the Pretend Reiki, cannot be explained solely by the placebo effect.
In an effort to foster medical student self-awareness and mindfulness, which may improve their EI, Georgetown University School of Medicine (GUSOM) offers an experiential course to undergraduate medical students in mind-body medicine skills. The purpose is to expose students to a variety of mind-body approaches including meditation, imagery, as well as group sharing and listening generously for self-awareness and reflection. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of the Mind Body Medicine Skills (MBS) course on perceived stress, mindfulness, and elements of EI including intrapersonal capacities (attention to feelings, mood repair, clarity of feelings) and interpersonal capacities (perspective-taking, empathetic concern, and personal distress in response to distress in others).

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