Contemplative Practice in the World Part III

Contemplative Practice in the World Part III


As we have seen, scientists are actively studying contemplative practices to understand how they can affect the brain and body. However, these practices are also being used in diverse applied contexts to increase well-being, most commonly in health care and educational settings. Sona Dimidjian has studied both traditional and contemplative based therapies for promoting wellness and alleviating problems such as depression throughout the United States and in India. Her current work focuses on the use of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy to help women prevent depression during the transition to parenthood. Dimidjian will discuss the efficacy of contemplative interventions in clinical contexts, theories and data about how such interventions work, and recent efforts to extend their reach to new settings and populations. Outside the clinic, contemplative exercise as mental training is being increasingly appreciated and applied in classrooms from kindergarten through universities and professional schools. Arthur Zajonc will discuss efforts at developing a “contemplative pedagogy,” as a means of cultivating attention, establishing emotional balance, and supporting deeper learning, creativity, as well as social and emotional learning in students. Zajonc will also describe Mind and Life’s new initiative on education and “secular ethics,” which was initiated in response to His Holiness’s strong desire to ground ethics in our shared humanity and not in religion or ideology. Finally, Geshe Ngawang Samten will reflect on the value of incorporating inner values, ethics of compassion and the understanding of interdependence in educational settings in India. 

  • Dialogue 26
    27 sessions
  • January 21, 2013
    Drepung Monastery, Mundgod, India
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Geshe Ngawang Samten

Geshe Ngawang Samten is presently the Vice Chancellor of Central University of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, Varanasi, and has been Professor of Indian Buddhist Philosophy at the University before assuming the office. He is educated both in the modern system as well as in the traditional Tibetan monastic system. He has important publications to his credit, as a definitive critical edition of Ratnavali with its commentary; Tibetan edition of Abhidhammathasamgaho; Sanskrit and Tibetan versions of the Pindikrita and the Pancakrama of Nagarjuna; Manjusri, an illustrated monograph on Tibetan Buddhist scroll paintings, and co-authored The Ocean of Reasoning, (Oxford University Press, New York) an annotated English translation of the commentary on Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamaka Karika by the Tibetan master-philosopher Tson-Kha-Pa. He has scores of papers in various learned anthologies published in India and abroad. He has been Visiting Professor in various Universities and colleges in USA and Australia. He has also been instrumental in promoting Buddhist Studies in India. He strongly advocates to make the education system instrumental in transforming the students through inculcation of value along with development of skills in various fields. He is on numerous bodies of Universities and other academic organizations within and outside India, and expert committees of the Ministries of Government of India. In 2009, he was decorated with Padma Shri (one of the country’s highest civilian awards) by the President of India in recognition of his distinguished services in the fields of education and literature.