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Lions Roar : May 2017
conference at MIT in 2003 was a milestone. “That represented, from a mainstream scientific community’s point of view, a begrudging acceptance of the role Buddhism has had in shaping science.” Compassion and the benefits of meditation practice are now considered legitimate subjects of scientific study. In 2005, His Holiness was a keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Since its first dialogue in 1987, the Mind and Life Institute has held more than thirty events on a wide range of subjects, including ethics, neuroplasticity, altruism, economics, and more. Thupten Jinpa is the chair of its board. Another organization studying and promoting compassion is the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Educa- tion (CCARE) at Stanford University, which Jinpa helped found with neurosurgeon James Doty. There Jinpa developed the Compassion Cultivation Training program (CCT), combining mindfulness practice, compassion meditation techniques, and Western psychological insights. Free of religious terminology and with testable results, this eight-week training in empathy and compassion has been taught to thousands of people from Stanford students to Google engineers. Many of its principles and practices are found in Jinpa’s book, A Fearless Heart. THUPTEN JINPA SAYS that over time he came to recognize that his destiny is to integrate classical Tibetan Buddhism into the contemporary world. He therefore turned his attention to preserving the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, in particular the extensive philosophical teachings that the Dalai Lama refers to as the Nalanda tradition, named after the famed Mahayana Buddhist university of ancient India. Fearing that this knowledge might be lost as the Tibetan mon- astic system weakens, Jinpa decided to “translate, reformat, and recreate these Tibetan texts for better and more efficient use, and to make them part of the global literary tradition.” The Library of Tibetan Classics is an enormous project, a thirty-two volume set of translations of key texts. Nine have been published so far by Wisdom Publications, with the others in progress. Jinpa also has what he calls a “hobby”—reforming classical Tibetan grammar to a more modern system to make it easier for future generations of Tibetans to retain their language. “Between the spoken and the written, there’s a big gap. I did a lot of research and wrote a book to help bridge this gap, and it’s now being used in some of the monasteries.” A true Renaissance man, Thupten Jinpa says there is a drive that unifies the work he does in so many different fields: “It’s my belief that the preservation and dissemination of classical Bud- dhist knowledge and its practices, including compassion, is good for the world.” As Jinpa reflects on this, he pats the family dog, who has been sleeping at his feet. The dog wags its tail happily. This makes Thupten Jinpa smile. “Also, you know, I think I’ve just been plain lucky,” he adds, with a characteristic laugh. ♦ Thupten Jinpa continued from page 51 CE’s AVAILABLE FOR NURSES AND SOCIAL WORKERS A transformative training in caregiving from a Zen Buddhist perspective. Ideal for caregivers such as physicians, nurses, social workers, hospice workers as well as those interested in becoming caregivers. SEPT 2017- MAY 2018 NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS A NINE-MONTH TRAINING PROGRAM CLASSES MEET TWO DAYS A MONTH ZENCARE.ORG 119 W. 23rd Street, #401, New York, NY 10011 FOUNDATIONS IN CONTEMPLATIVE CARE NEW YORK ZEN CENTER FOR CONTEMPLATIVE CARE A COMPREHENSIVE TRAINING PROGRAM LION’S ROAR | MAY 2017 79