Apart from the controversy, the research on meditation and the brain appears quite interesting.
Wired 14.02 reports in "Buddha on the Brain":
The Dalai Lama is here to give a speech titled 'The Neuroscience of Meditation.' Over the past few years, he has supplied about a dozen Tibetan Buddhist monks to Richard Davidson, a prominent neuroscience professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Davidson's research created a stir among brain scientists when his results suggested that, in the course of meditating for tens of thousands of hours, the monks had actually altered the structure and function of their brains.
Society for Neuroscience News Releases: "DALAI LAMA URGES THAT ETHICS BE A GUIDE IN THE APPLICATION OF NEW SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE" Washington.
The Dalai Lama of Tibet today called for scientists to be guided by ethical principles in the use of new knowledge.
We must find a way of bringing fundamental humanitarian and ethical considerations to bear upon the direction of scientific development, especially in the life sciences...I am speaking of . . . the key ethical principles, such as compassion, tolerance, a sense of caring, consideration of others, and the responsible use of knowledge and power- principles that transcend the barriers between religious believers and non-believers, and followers of this religion or that religion.