Scientific inquiry into the physiological impact of meditation practices has, in recent years, gained traction, largely due to the efforts of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (HHDL), Tenzin Gyatso, in working in collaboration with Western scientists. His Holiness met, in 1979, with Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School. Benson was interested in what he called the "relaxation response," and conducted studies on advanced meditation practitioners. Five years ago, HHDL published an article in the New York Times about his visit to a University of Wisconsin laboratory in which Dr. Richard Davidson used imaging devices to reveal the brain's activity during meditation. He writes, "Dr. Davidson has been able to study the effects of Buddhist practices for cultivating compassion, equanimity or mindfulness. For centuries Buddhists have believed that pursuing such practices seems to make people calmer, happier and more loving. At the same time they are less and less prone to destructive emotions. According to Dr. Davidson, there is now science to underscore this belief. Dr. Davidson tells me that the emergence of positive emotions may be due to this: Mindfulness meditation strengthens the neurological circuits that calm a part of the brain that acts as a trigger for fear and anger. This raises the possibility that we have a way to create a kind of buffer between the brain's violent impulses and our actions. Experiments have already been carried out that show some practitioners can achieve a state of inner peace, even when facing extremely disturbing circumstances." Although the Dalai Lama's involvement with scientific study has, among some groups of scientists and religious practitioners alike, been controversial, he writes in his autobiography that he initially proceeded in collaborating with Western scientists because he recognized that this work could benefit both religious practitioners and scientists, and "could therefore be of some general benefit to humankind."