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Accessing Our Buddha Nature with the Support of Psychological Science

Residential Program
Dates: Jul 08, 2022 - Jul 11, 2022
Days: Friday - Monday
Number of Nights: 3 nights

Instructor(s): John Makransky, Paul Condon

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Course Description:
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This program will explore ways of accessing and settling into our innate awakened awareness through practices adapted from Tibetan Buddhism (Nyingma Dzogchen) with support from modern psychological science. By participating in an empowering field of loving spiritual connection, we can become increasingly receptive to the unconditioned openness, wisdom, and compassionate energy of our buddha nature. Yet parts of us, often unconsciously, tend to prevent us from more fully accessing such qualities of awakening. This is true even for long-time practitioners. To address that, we will focus on ways that healing powers of our buddha nature can help harmonize all parts of ourselves with that nature, so our innate capacities for compassion and wisdom can unfold more freely. Throughout the program, we will also explore how several leading theories in current psychology can inform and empower this process of awakening—attachment theory, social baseline theory, internal family systems, situated conceptualization, dyadic expansion of consciousness, and emotional granularity. No scientific background is assumed; these terms and concepts will be introduced in accessible ways.

This retreat is both for practitioners who identify as Buddhists and for people of all backgrounds who seek an accessible way to cultivate unconditional powers of love, compassion, and wisdom for action. It is also for those interested in exploring how science can help support the process of deepening in contemplative experience. Guided meditations, explanation of key principles, and group discussion will clarify and empower our collective practice.


Noble Silence:
Noble silence will be observed following each evening session through breakfast the following morning.

Experience Level:
Suitable for beginning and experienced practitioners.
    About the Instructor(s):
  • John Makransky, PhD, is a professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology at Boston College, senior advisor for Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche’s Centre of Buddhist Studies in Nepal, a fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, and developer of the Sustainable Compassion Training model for accessing innate capacities of compassion and awareness. John's scholarly writings have focused on connections between practices of devotion, compassion and non-dual wisdom in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, on adapting Buddhist practices to meet contemporary minds, and on theoretical issues in interfaith learning. In 2000, John was ordained as a Lama, a meditation teacher of innate compassion and wisdom, within the Nyingma Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.  As a meditation teacher, John is known for guiding participants in their discovery of underlying powers of unconditional love and wisdom. For the past twelve years, John has taught meditations of innate compassion and wisdom, adapted from Tibetan Buddhism, for modern Buddhists, those in other spiritual traditions, and for people in caring roles and professions.

  • Paul Condon, Ph.D. is an associate professor of psychology at Southern Oregon University. He has also served as a visiting lecturer for the Centre for Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute and is a fellow of the Mind & Life Institute. His research examines how psychological science can inform meditation practices in dialogue with contemplative traditions to support training in compassion and wisdom. His research and writing also examine the constructed nature of emotion and concepts, attachment theory, and the impact of meditation on compassion and prosocial behavior. Paul teaches meditation practices adapted from the Tibetan Nyingma tradition. He has collaborated with John Makransky to develop and teach Sustainable Compassion Training, a system of compassion and wisdom practices for multi-faith practitioners and secular application.