by Elizabeth Rovere
Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Rovere is a longstanding member of our faculty and board who has devoted her career to exploring the fertile intersection between the collective dimension of psychic healing and the spirituality of self-transcendent experience. Find out about Elizabeth’s contemplative reading group, Everyday Epiphanies: When the Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary running May 4, 11, 18.
When I was in graduate school for clinical psychology in the late 1990’s, I worked with refugees and wrote my dissertation on betrayal trauma. Initially, I was in awe of the resilience, perseverance, humility, as well as the gallows humor, of the people I met — Bosnians, Croatians, Serbians, as well as Azerbaijanis and Armenians — the latter two groups, displaced by war wound up together at a make-shift refugee camp
in Moscow’s Red Square. Despite the different nationalities, cultures and religions, and, of course, the war, they got on together, not perfectly, but like they were stuck with each other, as they had been neighbors for years. These people I happened upon in Red Square, in the worst of times, found their common humanity and reestablished a shared trust in order to survive and even thrive after losing their homes and livelihoods. Their deep shared sense of common humanity proved more powerful than all their differences.
by Joe Loizzo
Editor’s note: The following are excerpts from Tarka, Volume 0, “Yoga Philosophy, On the Scholar-Practitioner,” a publication from Embodied Philosophy. The full article is available here as well, courtesy of Embodied Philosophy.
Have you ever wondered why the trend in modern science, scholarship, and practical expertise seems inexorably headed in one direction— towards more and more narrow specialization? I have. Since I was a teen, for some odd reason, this trend has felt so wrong to me that, in hindsight, much of my adult life and work have been dedicated to answering that question and reversing the trend. Here’s some of what I’ve learned and done on my journey thus far to bring the pieces of our humanity back together again. […]
by Fiona Brandon
Lama Rod Owens led the 2021 Spring retreat for the San Francisco Contemplative Psychotherapy Program (CPP). The cohort had the honor of learning from Lama Rod over the course of a weekend. The San Francisco CPP opened up the retreat to the public for Lama Rod’s book talk, Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger.
We are delighted to share this book talk with you! Join in to hear Lama Rod explore how to practice the healing arts of Buddhist psychology during this time of social, racial, and political upheaval. You will get a taste of sitting with Lama Rod and hear the answers to questions including his experience of relating to anger, confronting discrimination in Buddhist communities, and accessing joy and happiness.
Presented by Nalanda Institute with an excerpt by Lama Rod Owens
Lama Rod Owens, dharma teacher, meditation and mindfulness instructor (and recent visiting faculty in our Contemplative Psychotherapy Program!) explores with grace and candor the power and uses of anger. In his just-released book, Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger he shares his personal journey with rage—how, at a young age, he internalized the belief that his anger was dangerous.
In a recent press release, Lama Rod has shared an adapted excerpt entitled “Blackness and Anger” from his book which we would like to share with you. Read on….
por Joe Loizzo
Publicado originalmente en inglés el 4 de junio de 2020.
Cada año a medida que se acerca el verano me siento a escribir algo celebratorio para las graduaciones de nuestros alumnos del programa de psicoterapia contemplativa y otros programas. Pero después de ver el asesinato desgarrador de George Floyd en vídeo, celebrar se siente imposible.
Mientras el coronavirus devasta los EE. UU., impactando desproporcionadamente a nuestras comunidades negras, mulatas e indígenas y revelando disparidades inaceptables en el ámbito de la salud y desigualdades financieras que exponen el racismo estructural de nuestra nación, vemos reafirmarse a la cultura de la supremacía blanca con los asesinatos de Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, George Floyd y los tuits incendiarios de nuestro presidente.
Pero tal como nuestros líderes negros, mulatos e indígenas nos han enseñado, esta embestida aplastante no es nada nuevo. Observar cómo un policía blanco aparentemente corriente apaga fríamente la vida de George Floyd es ser testigo de la recreación de siglos de opresión a sangre fría contra los negros e indígenas de esta tierra, la repetición de un trauma colectivo tan sádico y psicópata como cualquier genocidio de la historia humana.
by Joe Loizzo
Usually, as summer nears, I would be sitting down to write something to celebrate our recent graduates in our Contemplative Psychotherapy and other programs. But it feels impossible to celebrate anything after watching the gut-wrenching murder of George Floyd on videotape.
As the coronavirus ravages the U.S., disproportionally impacting our black, brown and indigenous communities and revealing the unconscionable health disparities and financial inequities that expose our nation’s structural racism, we see the culture of white supremacy doubling down in the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, George Floyd and in the incendiary tweets of our president.
But as our black, brown, and indigenous leaders have taught us, this crushing onslaught is anything but new. Watching George Floyd’s life be coldly snuffed out by a seemingly average white policeman is witnessing the reenactment of centuries of cold-blooded oppression against the black and indigenous people of this land, the repetition of a collective trauma as sadistic and psychopathic as any genocide in human history.
By Scott Tusa
Editor’s Note: In this post, Nalanda Institute faculty Scott Tusa describes meditation as a practice of accessing our Buddha-nature, the open-hearted warmth and clarity the Buddha taught is our true essence. In a forthcoming Sustainable Happiness course which begins February 24th, Scott will be teaching what Tibetans consider the most direct path of meditation to quickly access that nature within us—the art of the Great Seal or ‘Mahamudra.’
The essence of the Buddhist path is the teachings on Buddha-nature (awakened-nature). As a foundational principle, I have found these teachings indispensable for my meditation practice.
What is Buddha Nature?
Buddha-nature represents the extremely positive news that our essence, no matter how many mistakes we make, is not fundamentally flawed. It is the opposite of original sin and affords us the potential for true freedom.
by Geri Loizzo
The Noble Eightfold Path
1) Right View, 2) Right Intention, 3) Right Speech, 4) Right Action, 5) Right Livelihood, 6) Right Effort, 7) Right Mindfulness, 8) Right Concentration
As I sit down to write this reflection on the Noble Eightfold Path, my wandering mind searches for a point of connection to the here and now. The Buddha’s ancient guidelines seem to map the path as a clear straight line to be traversed step by step by anyone and everyone committed to following in his footsteps. But it’s not so clear how those of us struggling to live more mindfully in today’s stressful world can best apply that map in our own everyday lives.
by Joe Loizzo
Over the years since I first encountered Seven Steps for Transforming the Mind, the crown jewel of Tibet’s unique and timeless tradition of compassion training (lo-jong), it has been an unfailing source of guidance and inspiration on my own personal path, a real companion through good times and bad. Given the challenging times in which we live, I’m happy to be able to share some of its vital precepts, formulated by the Nalanda abbot Atisha Dimpamkara Shrijnana (982–1054) and recorded by Geshe Chekawa Yeshe Dorje (1101–1175), along with my own personal reflections. It’s my hope that the pointers I’ve selected from this text will help you go deeper in your practice of radical openness and life-transforming kindness, whether for yourself or others, close, neutral and far.
Precepts in italics, my comments in regular text.
“(This compassion practice) resembles the sun, a diamond, and a medicinal tree—
(It shines on all, cuts the hardest suffering, and is useful in every part).”
Within the Nalanda tradition, compassion is prized and practiced as the ground on which all human progress towards personal freedom and communal happiness stands. Compassion practice is not just for the high minded or troubled. Like the sun it brings vital warmth and light to everyone. Since it is the safest, most powerful tool for facing life’s inevitable hardship and negativity, it is like a diamond blade that cuts through the hardest blocks. And since it is entirely wholesome and endlessly beneficial, any part of this all-inclusive practice, even one precept, can be of life-giving value and life-saving help. So as far as the Tibetan masters like His Holiness the Dalai Lama are concerned, it’s not an exaggeration to say that this simple practice holds the key to all good things for all beings.
By Nalanda Institute Editors
As the year comes to a close, we’d like to take the time to share with you some highlights of all we’ve accomplished together throughout the year!
Late Winter. We brought in 2019 with a trifecta of inspiring courses and trainings: Yoga, Mind & Spirit Training, Sustainable Happiness Course in Compassion, and Meditation Teacher Training in Compassion.
Spring. In the spring, alongside our Toronto partner X-Hale, we successfully launched our new online Compassion-Based Resilience Training (CBRT) Teacher’s Program, with outreach worldwide; and graduated the NYC and San Francisco cohorts of our Contemplative Psychotherapy Program.