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Accessing Our Buddha Nature with the Support of Psychological Science
Dates: Jul 09, 2021 - Jul 13, 2021
Online Course

Instructor(s): John Makransky, Paul Condon

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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 begin with dinner each evening and continue through breakfast the following morning. 

Experience Level:

This course is suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners. 

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

Three spaces will be held for self-identified BIPOC participants until eight weeks before this course begins when they will be released generally. Therefore, we encourage you to join the waitlist even if the course appears full as additional spaces may become available. Please see our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies for more information.

As we work to become a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming; please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.

Online Study Retreat: This study retreat will be hosted on the Zoom video conferencing platform and closed captions are available. 

Our intention is to build sangha and provide meaningful virtual interactions with each other and with teachers in our online programs. When registering for this program, please plan to attend as many sessions as possible. The schedule of Zoom meetings for this program (shown in US Eastern Time) is as follows:

Friday, July 9

7:00 – 8:30 pm, Opening Session

Saturday, July 10 – Monday, July 12

10:00 am – 1:00 pm, Morning Session

2:00 – 3:30 pm, Afternoon Session

7:00 – 8:15 pm, Evening Session

Tuesday, July 13

10:00 am – 1:00 pm Closing Session

Please check the time of the group meetings in your timezone here, and please note that sessions will not be recorded.

Registration fees for online study retreats are nonrefundable after the study retreat start date. Cancellations prior to the start date of the study retreat will incur a $25 admin fee. Thank you for your understandin

  • John Makransky PhD, is Associate Professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology at Boston College, senior advisor for Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche’s Centre of Buddhist Studies in Nepal, former president of the Society of Buddhist-Christian studies, and co-founder of the Foundation for Active Compassion. In 2000, John was ordained as a Lama 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 love and wisdom. John developed the Innate Compassion Training model (ICT), which is being applied to help empower inclusive, sustainable compassion for people in caring roles and professions.

  • Paul Condon, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of psychology at Southern Oregon University, a meditation teacher with the Foundation for Active Compassion, and a research fellow of the Mind & Life Institute. His research examines the contributions of psychological science to meditation practices in dialogue with Buddhism and other traditions, with a focus on compassion training.