The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You?

By Miguel Farias & Catherine Wikholm, Watkins Publishing (2015)

"If you meditate or wonder if you should, this is the one book you must read."

"In The Buddha Pill, pioneering psychologists Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm put meditation and mindfulness under the microscope. Separating fact from fiction, they reveal what scientific research including their groundbreaking study on yoga and meditation with prisoners tells us about the benefits and limitations of these techniques for improving our lives. As well as illuminating the potential, the authors argue that these practices may have unexpected consequences, and that peace and happiness may not always be the end result. 

Offering a compelling examination of research on transcendental meditation to recent brain-imaging studies on the effects of mindfulness and yoga, and with fascinating contributions from spiritual teachers and therapists, Farias and Wikholm weave together a unique story about the science and the delusions of personal change."

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"This book is a balanced assessment from authors who are experienced in the practice of meditation and who can shed light on the range and scope of the often over-enthusiastic claims made regarding the positive benefits of meditation. It is a provocative read, wise, balanced and fair even in its treatment of the dark side of meditation. If you meditate or wonder if you should, this is the one book you must read."

- Ralph, W. Hood, PhD., Former President of the Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, American Psychological Association.

"To change a human being - that is power. Whoever has it has got the key to a timeless want, to be able to free, or control, people. Farias and Wikholm give us a readable, thoughtful and in-depth look at the promises and pitfalls of meditation as a human change procedure. It is imported to the West as a simple but powerful method to relieve suffering and promote compassion. Does it work? The answer turns out to be complicated. From real-world encounters with prison convicts combined with research on mindfulness in psychotherapy, and examination of the roots of Buddhism, the notion that meditation heals is given honest, in-depth examination. This book keeps your attention; you don't want to put it down. It provides an accurate record of what mindfulness can and cannot do for depression, suffering, compassionate behaviour, and a whole gambit of helpful, helpless and harmful human behaviours. It helps us make wise decisions about it.

- Raymond F. Paloutzian, PhD. Editor of the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion.

"Much has been written about meditation, some of it making wild claims about how it can bring about personal change. But this is a book with a difference. Entertainingly written and always with an eye to the scientific and human evidence, it examines the good and the bad of meditation. An excellent read.

- Gordon Claridge, Emeritus Professor of Abnormal Psychology at the University of Oxford and author of Sounds from the Bell Jar: Ten Psychotic Authors and Schizotypy: Implications for Health and Illness.

"In this excellent book, Farias and Wikholm develop an account that shows the ambiguity of meditation and its effects on people's lives, which can be positive but also, perhaps to our surprise, negative. All those interested in meditation and public health should read this book."

- Gavin Flood, FBA, Professor of Hindu Studies and Comparative Religion, University of Oxford, and author of The Blackwell Guide to Hinduism and The Tantric Body. 

"This is a book bound to ruffle many feathers among advocates of meditation. It turns out that the evidence of benefit is not as unequivocal as many of us suppose. This is a highly readable, nontechnical and entertaining book that takes a closer look at the science behind the claims made about meditation."

- Stephen Law, provost of the Centre for Inquiry, UK, senior lecturer in Philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London, and author of The Philosophy Gym.


"A ground-breaking book, The Buddha Pill, promotes critical thinking about meditation in an easy to follow and yoga-friendly tone. Farias and Wikholm guide the reader to question and think critically about the astonishing claims of meditation advocates."Skeptic Meditations

"I recommend this book to those who treat and those who live with mental health problems." - Rosie Writes...

"The Buddha Pill makes urgent reading.- The Law Society Journal, Australia

"The scientifically objective book, The Buddha Pill by Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm does a great job of evaluating meditation, and the distinctly romantic and unscientific approach that many Western researchers, scholars and practitioners have blindly accepted." - Integral World

"Whether you currently practice some form of meditation, are thinking about it, or – most importantly – teach meditation, this book is a must-read." - New Spirit Journal