"Thupten Jinpa has been a principal English translator to His Holiness the
Dalai Lama since 1985. He is a Visiting Research Scholar at Stanford's
Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education where he has
played an instrumental role in the development of our compassion training
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"Inquiring Mind: Compassion training speaks to such a
profound need in the world. How did this secular program come about?
THUPTEN JINPA: A group from Stanford went to see His Holiness [Tenzin
Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama] to bring him a proposal for establishing a
center for research and education in compassion and altruism. After a
long discussion, His Holiness made a generous offer of quite a
substantial donation to seed the program and said, "I have two requests:
Whatever science you do, make sure that it is impeccable from a
scientific standard. And secondly, whatever program you develop for
teaching compassion, make sure it is completely secularized and
universalizable. No back-door Buddhism."
"Thupten Jinpa has been a principal English translator to
His Holiness the Dalai Lama since 1985. He has translated and edited
more than a dozen books by the Dalai Lama including the New York Times
bestseller Ethics for the New Millennium (Riverhead, 1999), Transforming
the Mind (Thorsons, 2000 ), and Universe in a Single Atom: The
Convergence of Science and Spirituality (Morgan Road Books, 2005).
Jinpa's own works include Self, Reality and Reason in Tibetan Philosophy
and Mind Training"
Joy to be part of this conversation. Multidisciplinary nature of the
gathering is rewarding and fulfilling.
Presentation from the Buddhist perspective. The scientists are the new
kid on the block in this field of research. Particularly Buddhism has
been interested in human psychology for a long time. Buddha can be
seen as one of the earliest psychologists in the human world.
Buddhists are trying to understand how we get to enlightenment. They
understand that it is knowledge of the reality of our mental world
that gets us there. We live in a world that we create, so
understanding the nature of the mind is central to that.
Buddhism interested in human psychology.
Interested in the mechanics of getting to enlightenment.
04.00 Mind and Life institute is a platform where scientists can
engage deeply with contemplative practices.
Scientist can engage with Buddhists in 2 areas
contemplative practices - training of compassion
Buddhists mapping of the mind.
5:50 Will talk about
what is compassion? How does Buddhism understand compassion as a
Process of meditation
Q and A
6:30 What is compassion?
(karuna) traditional buddhism: compassion is a mental state -
endowed with a sense of concern - that focuses on another being
and wishes for that being to be relieved of suffering.
Affective or emotional component
- a feeling of concern
- perception of other's suffering
- wishing to see that suffering relieved
Modern researchers on compassion speak of three elements of
1. noticing otherís suffering
2 empathically feeling the personís pain
3. acting to ease the suffering - (this is less in the Buddhist
multifaceted process and not a basic emotion
higher order level
10:24 a sense of caring - we instinctively posses
11:45 What compassion is not?
look at multiple models
we donít have all the contructs
look at all the models of compassion
compassion not pity (near enemy)
compassion not attachment (self regard)
compassion is not the same as empathic feeling of otherís pain
13:45 There is a lot of muddlement between empathy, compassion,
altruism. need greater clarity. at least for theoretical constructs
compassion is not conditional
compassion is not self-regarding
15:30 Buddhist compassion cultivation practice
cultivating deeper sensitivity to nature of suffering, casual
cultivating equanimity - common humanity
cultivating others as dear - need to be able to make a connection
ďin the field of equanimity, with loving kindness as moisture, the
seed of compassion grows into a tree of true altruism.Ē
22:00 capacity to feel for others is inborn
sentient creatures feel pain
with training can widen compassion
heart of compassion is to relieve others suffering
highest form of compassion -
24:30 Donít get too attached to definitions and constructs
seems 3 kinds of altruism definition
psychologists, buddhist, philosophers
motivation is important feature
neuroscientists, biologist, Zoologists
defined independently of motivation
26:50 List of questions
does empathy always arises through the empathy route ?