Speaker Series: Adapting Compassion Training from Tibetan Buddhism: Empowering the Deeper Personhood of Self and Others with John Makransky
CSC faculty member wins award for mindfulness research.
Sponsored by the Compassionate Care Initiative and the Contemplative Sciences Center at U.Va., John will be giving a talk entitled, "Adapting Compassion Training from Tibet: Empowering the Deeper Personhood of Self and Others."
Methods to cultivate compassion in the West, adapted from Buddhism, have often been framed by a Western view of persons as isolated, autonomous individuals, for whom compassion training is seen as a self-help technique. This highly individualistic anthropology shuts out crucial elements of compassion training highlighted in Tibetan Buddhism, elements important for undercutting modern impediments to compassion. Professor Makransky will introduce “Innate Compassion Training,” a method he adapted from Tibetan practices in which compassion, devotion and wisdom are engaged as mutually empowering. This approach takes a more relational view of persons that is truer both to Asian Buddhism, to many other spiritual traditions, and to elements of modern philosophy. This approach highlights our human need to experience ourselves as objects of loving compassion in order to extend loving compassion widely to others; our need to be seen in our unconditional worth and potential in order to see the same in others. Professor Makransky will explain how these elements of compassion training from Tibet undercut common modern impediments to compassion. This pattern of training, adapted from Tibet and recently adopted by Mind and Life Institute for its “Call to Care” initiative for teachers and students is starting to be correlated with findings in developmental psychology and contemplative neuroscience.
John Makransky is a professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology at Boston College, senior academic advisor and lecturer for Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche’s Centre for Buddhist Studies in Nepal, guiding meditation teacher of the Foundation for Active Compassion (a socially engaged Buddhist organization), and author of the popular meditation manual Awakening through Love. John's academic writings have focused on connections between doctrine and practice in Indian and Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, and on theoretical issues in interfaith learning from a Buddhist perspective. Since 1978, John has studied and practiced Tibetan Buddhism under the guidance of his Tibetan teachers, and in 2000 was ordained a Buddhist lama in the lineage of Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. Since then, John has made meditations of innate compassion and wisdom from Tibet newly accessible to people of all backgrounds and faiths by teaching these meditation methods to teachers, therapists, social workers, healthcare providers, and social justice activists in diverse service and Dharma settings, including Boston College, Harvard Divinity and Medical Schools, Brown University, Emory University, Union Theological Seminary, Catholic Charities, the Institute of Meditation and Psychotherapy, Naropa and Colorado Universities, Natural Dharma Fellowship, and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.
| Sept 20 | This invited presentation is free and open to the public