The Dalai Lama and some of the United States' top experts on depression met Saturday to discuss how Buddhist practices can affect the disease.
Buddhist meditation can play a big part in treating patients with depression, the researchers said. Each case is unique, and often nontraditional therapies like meditation training are helpful when used with other treatments, they said.
"With other diseases, we can measure things and predict what treatment we should use," said Dr. Charles Nemeroff, head of the Emory School of Medicine's department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. "But in the disease state of depression, it could be mindfulness, cognitive behavior therapy or medicine."
The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader praised a study being done by Emory University researchers Dr. Chuck Raison and Geshe Lobsang Negi on how compassion meditation affects students' mental health. He said the study's results will have wide application in preventing depression.
"I think in our life, it is very important to have compassion," he said in English.
The daylong conference is part of a weekend of events at Emory with the Dalai Lama, who has accepted a distinguished professorship at the private college.
On Friday, he was presented with a science curriculum designed by Emory faculty and translated into Tibetan. Emory faculty plan to teach the curriculum to thousands of Tibetan monks living in India starting in January, part of a program requested by the Dalai Lama to improve monastic education.
The Dalai Lama fled the Himalayan region for India in 1959 amid a failed uprising against Chinese rule. Chinese officials lashed out at the United States after he received Congress' highest civilian honor in an elaborate ceremony on Wednesday.
The Dalai Lama said he supports "genuine autonomy," not independence, for Tibet.
On the Net:
Emory-Tibet Partnership: http://tibet.emory.edu/
Dalai Lama's visit: http://dalailama.emory.edu/
Emory-Tibet Science Initiative: http://college.emory.edu/tibetscience
Source: AP Features