by Nalanda Institute
What is Contemplative Psychotherapy?
Contemplative Psychotherapy is a shared journey of deep learning and transformation that prepares therapists and non-therapists alike for an ongoing practice harnessing the healing wisdom and arts of both Buddhist and Western psychology. Contemplative Psychotherapy teaches us how to show up in the world from a more mindful, compassionate, and fully embodied place. It is an invitation to find your own path to deep personal and psychosocial change, rooted in the cultivation of self-awareness, healing dialogue, heart-opening compassion, and embodied intuition and flow.
by Richard Williams
As a person living with a diagnosis of severe mental illness, in a Black body, and with a queer heart, the lack of belonging, community, and connection has been normalized. Early in life and in a child’s mind, a survival decision had to be made, to search for belonging or function. I chose to function, however empty that functioning was. I suspect this is a shared experience in a society that determines humanity and value based on our contributions.
by Dr. Joe Loizzo
I recently had the pleasure of connecting (in person!) with contemplative neuroscientist David Vago and some of our mutual friends at the inaugural meeting of the International Society of Contemplative Research (ISCR) he founded with Nalanda Institute board member Doris Chang and others. Set on the lovely campus of the UC San Diego, the meeting brought together Buddhist scholars, neuroscientists, social justice researcher-activists and clinical researchers to explore the future of interdisciplinary dialogue and inquiry in the fast-growing field of contemplative science and practice.
by Nalanda Institute
Recently, the Compassion Year Live Learning cohort in Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program (CPP), had the good fortune to receive an impactful teaching by the wise, warm, and fiercely compassionate Venerable Robina Courtin. Here is an excerpt of the class, which included a robust question and answer period (not shown here). In her generous talk, Venerable Robina shares how the Gradual Path in the Nalanda tradition embraces both wisdom and compassion, the two wings of a bird that allow our practice to take flight.
Please enjoy this powerful teaching.
by Caverly Morgan
We all long to be happy. Not happy as in glee but deep contentment. We all long to feel at ease, to know that we’re okay, that life is okay, to be at peace. And we’re deeply habituated to look for this happiness outside us, to grasp and scramble for an experience that, at best, ends up being fleeting, then something we long for again. We forget that this experience we long for is already seated in the heart of who we are—and that it’s always here.
Have you ever touched this peace, this contentment, this deep knowing of who you truly are and then struggled because you recognized the degree to which the world around you didn’t reflect this experience of our true nature?
By Geri Loizzo
Another week, another shooting. Just in the past two weeks, we have seen unspeakable killings — of children and their teachers finishing their school year in Uvalde, of cherished elders and guardians shopping in a Buffalo grocery store, and of churchgoers sharing community in Laguna Woods. It has become a common occurrence for us to witness precious lives cut short in an instant by rampant, toxic masculinity and the glorification of gun violence. Dr. King warned us about the afflictions of greed, hatred, and racism. Where can we begin to fathom a way forward in our personal lives and our collective society?
by Geri Loizzo
Editor’s Note: For those who couldn’t attend the retreat with Sharon Salzberg, Nalanda Institute is pleased to announce that she’ll be speaking at our forthcoming Community Gathering on February 18th. This online event is freely offered. We hope you’ll join us….find out more here.
Find out more about the Contemplative Psychotherapy Program
I was quietly blow away at recent weekend retreat in the Contemplative Psychotherapy Program with core faculty Sharon Salzberg. Reflecting on exactly how the weekend hit home for me, I found myself thinking about the author Kurt Vonnegut. In describing the art of writing, Vonnegut often talked about the powerful impact of a well-placed short sentence. To me, Sharon is the Kurt Vonnegut of Mindfulness and Loving Kindness. In one short phrase, she can bend the mind and heart toward a whole new understanding.
by Vanessa Kelly
Completing Nalanda Institute’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program transformed my life in many expected and beautiful ways. It deepened my understanding of Buddhist psychology and philosophy, supported and solidified my mediation practice, and immersed me in a diverse, inclusive community of inspiring friends and colleagues.
It also transformed me in unexpected and equally beautiful ways. My personal relationship both to self and others flourished with the infusion of compassionate inquiry and understanding. I began a meditation teaching training path (and now am honored to occasionally offer the Nalanda Institute and Tibet House’s Lunchtime Meditation!). It set me on a path of Buddhist centric service and study, as well as routinely attending silent retreats.
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.
By Helen Park
The 2018–19 Compassion Year was an inspired and challenging year full of transitions and growth for us all at the Contemplative Psychotherapy Program in New York City. Over the course of the year, our dedicated and altruistic cohort of practitioners, therapists, coaches, educators, healthcare professionals, and artists engaged with the Mahayana teachings of lojong (“mind training”), Shantideva’s fourfold teachings on compassion, Vajrayana visualization practices, as well as contemporary neuropsychology and research. One of the primary goals of this program is to support our students in a process of embodied learning so that they may take these teachings and implement them into their lives and work, and one of the pathways toward this goal is the Capstone Project.
By Fiona Brandon
Contemplative Psychotherapy Program students were challenged by visiting faculty Mariana Caplan to, “Think of a time when you rejected a part of yourself thinking it was keeping you from deeper transformation. And see if you can call that part back. And how could you use it to deepen your practice?” What a dare! And what an inroad to the truth about why many of us stay in a state of suffering. Instead of ostracizing parts of ourselves, what if we use them as a way to create profound psychological and spiritual transformation? Is that possible? Absolutely.
The CPP Compassion Year, beginning September 20th, teaches how to use compassion practices, and the analytic wisdom of emptiness, to relate to the parts of ourselves we have deemed unacceptable and how to ultimately extinguish the cycle of stress and trauma these aspects are born from.