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Buddhist and Christian Methods for Personal and Social Awakening
Dates: Jan 29, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Online Course

Instructor(s): John Makransky, Melanie L. Harris

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Classical Buddhist traditions have focused on psychological tendencies of misperception and mis-reaction –delusion, greed, and ill will–as primary causes of suffering. Such traditions have provided contemplative, ritual, and ethical practices to liberate people from those inner causes of suffering. Christian liberation theologies have identified oppressive social systems as primary causes of suffering and have provided historical analysis and social activism to empower people to liberate themselves from those systems. In this retreat we will draw on strengths of both traditions to explore practices for personal and social awakening. 

Lama/Professor John Makransky will lead meditations of innate compassion and wisdom that he adapted from Tibetan Buddhism (Nyingma-Dzogchen) to empower modern Buddhists, Christians, and people of other faiths to access a liberating power of love, compassion, and wisdom that can become increasingly self-replenishing, unconditional, and inclusive. Reverend/Professor Melanie Harris will draw on the deep spirituality of African-American Christian life and practice, together with those aspects of Buddhist practice, to help retreatants explore connections between healing spiritual practices and racial, intersectional, and environmental justice work. Melanie and John will alternate practices and perspectives of Buddhism and Christianity in ways that bring each other and the retreatants into deepening inter-religious practice and learning.

Online Course: Our intention is to build sangha and provide meaningful virtual interactions with each other and teachers in our online courses. When registering for an online course, please note that you should plan to commit to attending all scheduled sessions. The schedule of Zoom meetings for this course (shown in US Eastern Time) is as follows:


Friday, January 29

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, Opening Session

Saturday, January 30

9:00 am – 12:00 pm, Morning Session

2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Afternoon Session 

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Evening Session

Sunday, January 31

9:00 am to 12:00 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 courses are nonrefundable after the course start date. Cancellations prior to the start date of the course will incur a $50 admin fee. Thank you for your understanding.

  • 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.

  • Dr. Melanie L. Harris is Founding Director of African American and Africana Studies and full Professor of Religion and Ethics at TCU. A graduate of the Harvard Leadership Program, she is an educator and community leader whose passion is linked to a commitment to social justice.  Dr. Harris is also a Womanist scholar of Religious Studies. Her research engages Buddhist-Christian Dialogue, Critical Race Theory, Religion and Environmental Ethics. Melanie has been a practitioner of Buddhist meditation for many years, and integrates this work into her life as a Christian clergy leader, retreat guide, and yoga instructor.