Superhuman Abilities of Himalayan Monks Stun Harvard Scientists


Most of us have a fairly good idea that brains of Buddhist monks function far beyond most humans’ capabilities and that the monks can actually rewire their brains. While there is no question that Buddhist monks possess superhuman powers, how they do some really incredible out-of-this-world kind of stuff continues to fascinate and show scientists what we – ‘normal human beings’ – can all do.

Professor Herbert Benson and his team of researchers from the Harvard School Of Medicine went to remote monasteries in the Himalayan mountains in the 1980′s to discover, decode, and document the subtle ways through which the monks manipulate their bodies – like raising the temperatures of their fingers and toes by as much as 17 degrees, and lowering their body’s metabolic rate by up to 64% – using a stress reduction yoga technique called ‘g Tum-mo’.

The Harvard research team also recorded monks drying cold, wet sheets with body heat. They also documented monks spending a winter night – when temperatures reached zero degrees F – on a rocky ledge 15,000 feet high in the Himalayas — wearing only woolen or cotton shawls. These remarkable feats, the Harvard research team observed, were achieved by intense daily meditations, guided exercises and spiritual conditioning. They noted:

“In a monastery in northern India, thinly clad Tibetan monks sat quietly in a room where the temperature was a chilly 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a yoga technique known as g Tum-mo, they entered a state of deep meditation. Other monks soaked 3-by-6-foot sheets in cold water (49 degrees) and placed them over the meditators’ shoulders.

“For untrained people, such frigid wrappings would produce uncontrolled shivering. If body temperatures continue to drop under these conditions, death can result. But it was not long before steam began rising from the sheets. As a result of body heat produced by the monks during meditation, the sheets dried in about an hour.”

Based on his experiments and experience, Benson stressed that a better understanding of advanced mediation could lead to better treatments for stress-related illnesses. He noted:

“More than 60 percent of visits to physicians in the United States are due to stress-related problems, most of which are poorly treated by drugs, surgery, or other medical procedures. If such an easy-to-master practice can bring about the remarkable changes we observe, I want to investigate what advanced forms of meditation can do to help the mind control physical processes once thought to be uncontrollable.

“My hope is that self-care will stand equal with medical drugs, surgery, and other therapies that are now used to alleviate mental and physical suffering. Along with nutrition and exercise, mind/body approaches can be part of self-care practices that could save millions of dollars annually in medical costs.”


In 2011, Zoran Josipovic, a research scientist and adjunct professor at New York University and a Buddhist monk himself, placed the minds and bodies of prominent Buddhist monks into functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machines to track the blood flow to their brains while they were meditating. Josipovic told BBC:

“The brain appears to be organized into two networks: the extrinsic network and the intrinsic, or default, network. The extrinsic portion of the brain becomes active when individuals are focused on external tasks, like playing sports or pouring a cup of coffee. The default network churns when people reflect on matters that involve themselves and their emotions. But the networks are rarely fully active at the same time. And like a seesaw, when one rises, the other one dips down. This neural set-up allows individuals to concentrate more easily on one task at any given time, without being consumed by distractions like daydreaming.

“[But] Some Buddhist monks and other experienced meditators have the ability to keep both neural networks active at the same time during meditation – that is to say, they have found a way to lift both sides of the seesaw simultaneously. This ability to churn both the internal and external networks in the brain concurrently may lead the monks to experience a harmonious feeling of oneness with their environment.”

In 2008, neuroscientist Richard J. Davidson conducted a research on Tibetan Buddhist monks at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to find out how meditation makes Buddhist monks’ brains superhuman. He discovered that “over the course of meditating for tens of thousands of hours, the long-term practitioners could dramatically increase neuroplasticity and had actually altered the structure and function of their brains”.

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  1. Wow, I feel very relatable to this. I always thought that like anything else in the world, peoples way of thinking could also be trained and improved as well. There may be hope for humanity yet with these ideals. That is just my opinion though. Are there any known ways given to us/you by the Tibetan Buddhist monks to help improve as said in the article?

    • Yes, there is the path which is shown clearly by lord Buddha if you would really like to follow. Those monks are the followers of him. And training mind is not as easy as to say. But again, nothing is impossible if you really want to.

    • You can learn Vipassana meditation in a 10-day silent retreat through the Vipassana Organisation. You can check for available courses and centers near you. The first one I went to changed my life and set my life in motion towards healing and realization. It’s the single most useful and effective meditation technique you can learn in this life.

      • Goenka makes me smile. The 10 day Vipassana Retreat was one of the most challenging things I have ever done. Then there is trying to continue practicing. “May all beings be happy”

  2. It’s to do with their origins. European humans mated with neanderthals to help survive in the different environment, I believe there was a Tibetan equivalent to help survive at high altitudes with low temperatures, I forget the name. Genetics, not mediation.

  3. That picture of the child floating is a fakery ..It is using photoshop.
    As far as i know i assure you till now there is no way humans can fly with the mind.

  4. Buddhism is the only one religious vision that was understood and explained by a human (Lord Buddha). Buddhism is more than a religion. It is a science of the mind.

    • Incorrect. The Jewish God, was understood and explained by a human. Jesus of Nazareth, Saviour of the World. It later was referred to as Christianity and humans have continued to whore it up ever since. (But this was foretold in some of the books of the New Testament.) Jesus is the true image of the invisible God he was killed by humans and raised by God. That same resurrection power is available to all who trust in God for the Salvation of the world. Christianity is a religion but it’s not meant to be, it’s meant to be a way of life that’s possible through trusting God.

      • Wow i cant believe some people still believe gods exist. A “god” chooses a certain group of people to be his “chosen people” this same “god” supposedly sends his “son” who is not really his son, but a part if himself, which btw has a 3rd part which is invisible. Then this “son” performs “miracles” that could not possiblly happen in any way whatsoever. The the “son” is killed by being nailed to a cross of wood, he then supposedly rises from the dead. So now,technically he’s a zombie. Then he magically floats up into the sky, never to be seen again. Tell me what part of any if that was not a fairy tale? gullible “god fearing folk” my ass! zombie cult followers more like. Get a grip, want to make the world a better place quit praying, get off your knees/ass and do something about it.

        • Note; Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. Don’t bow when its too late because you might be burning in hell without a second chance.

          • Your stupid I bet you believe in ghost and the Easter bunny to huh? Oh or Santa Claus lol stop hiding behind lies just admit you don’t really know. do you got proof?besides books and words?

          • Who decides whats real?

            I can’t see radio waves or sound waves or microwaves but they
            are still there.

            Would you classify anything you can see as “Real”?

            Or would you classify anything you think is “Real” as “Real”?

            The truth…

            The real true truth

            isn’t capable of being understood at a ordinary human level.

            Ordinary humans aren’t well educated in the Truth.

            That is why the things that seems impossible to them,which are because of their own ignorance and limited abilities which ordinary humans possess,They deny.

            They deny because their ordinary human mindset is not capable or of too of a low level to comprehend high-level things.

            *Did you comprehend that?*

            Ordinary humans would say “If he has so much power Why doesn’t he heal the sick and help the poor?If hes all that great shouldn’t he help these people?If this is possible why aren’t we all living happily?”

            I would say Abilities aren’t allowed to (Be used) exist that way, if it would just imagine…

            Would if the wrong person abilities come out? “Wouldn’t we all be living un-happily?” with bad people taking advantage of others using their abilities? That would be a mess.

            Anyone of all beliefs or religion..


            visit the site (you will thank me later)

            sadly I probably won’t be there to say your welcomed

            But you shouldn’t thank me ^-^

            This is everyone’s

            I haven’t given you anything nor have I taught any Fa

            I am a cultivator (a student still)

            All that was said was said at my level.

            ~> 1.Read intro 2.Decide

            (‘~’)*Thank you for reading everything :D*

      • While some of these commenters may laugh at you, they do not understand how deep your reply was. Ignore the ignorance. You are closer to the truth of the matter than you know. All great teachers are deified instead of followed

  5. It must be left to the imagination as to what a lifetime of envy, dependency and paranoia will do to us in our ‘more advanced’ countries.

  6. I can keep my heart rhythm the same after years of meditation. When I had to go to the hospital the nurse said she had to make up a number for my blood pressure to fluctuate or the doctors would accuse her of lying…They monks slow their heart rates…Cold didn’t affect the Native American people either…Go forth and pray now to the great nature god FROG for fortelling of the coming ability of these great men to hibernate…

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  8. For your information, Buddhism is not a magic nor meant to be used for performance. Don’t like Buddhism because it looks like magic.

  9. Just lol. But i am a muslim and have acknowledged and recognizing that Buddhism has something special. Oh, sorry, not Buddhism but Buddhist monks. It’s their power it’s the power of controlling emotions and something of preventing humanitarian behaviour.I am recognizing it as an author and scientist.

  10. Great! Let’s put it to the benefits of the humanity.
    So these Monks could anticipate disastrous natural calamities which could possibly save millions of lives.
    Otherwise, it’s would make no difference.

  11. Your article was doing great, until the fake picture of the kid floating. What a crock. Couldn’t you think of a faster way to discredit yourself? That’s like writing


    Great job ruining what would have been an honest treatment of the subject matter.


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