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Compassion Training, Transformation, and the Brain

Residential Program
Dates: Sep 22, 2017 - Sep 24, 2017
Days: Friday - Sunday
Number of Nights: 2 nights

Instructor(s): John Makransky, Wendy Hasenkamp

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Course Description:

In this program, we will learn meditation methods for cultivating strong, stable care and compassion. These methods have been adapted from Buddhism for people in secular caring roles and professions—the Sustainable Compassion Training model (SCT). Such training is designed to help us realize a power of unconditional care from within that can be deeply healing and sustaining, allowing us to be more fully present, and empowering strong, active compassion for others that is not subject to “compassion fatigue” or burnout. SCT highlights our need to experience ourselves as objects of care and compassion in order to extend the same attitudes widely to others; our need to be seen in our unconditional worth and potential in order to see the same in others; and our need to become present to our own feelings with kindness in order to become present to others with kindness. We will also discuss possible connections between such cultivations and current research in areas of social psychology, cognitive science and neuroscience, including the neural basis of reductive concepts, and mechanisms for transformation of habitual mental patterns. Periods of practice will be integrated with lecture and discussion.

    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.