Written by Cynthia Haven.
The Dalai Lama returns this week on his third visit to Stanford in recent years, but it’s more than palm trees and sunshine that draw him to the heart of Silicon Valley. It’s the research.
Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE, pronounced “see care”) is at the forefront of a growing movement to bring the tools of psychology and neuroscience to the study of empathy, compassion and altruism.
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is more than an interested bystander at CCARE – he is a benefactor. The project grew directly from his visit in 2005, when he was involved in discussions with scientists and Buddhist scholars on research findings about craving, suffering and choice.
After he returned to Dharamsala, India, the base of the exiled government of Tibet, the entrepreneur, philanthropist and Stanford neurosurgeon James Doty continued the discussions. In 2008, the Dalai Lama donated $150,000 from his book sales – his largest donation to a non-Tibetan cause – and CCARE was born.
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