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  • [ Music ]

  • >> Voiceover: Stanford University.

  • [ Crowd noises ]

  • [ Speaker coming to podium ]

  • [ Inaudible ]

  • >> Dr. Zajonc: Allow me to welcome you all back.

  • I hope you had a leisurely and congenial lunch.

  • In our third session today we're going to be making a shift.

  • We'll continue with the theme of research and experiment.

  • But we'll be focusing in particular on the cultivation,

  • the practices which cultivate compassion in us.

  • And then examining whether or not those practices

  • as we have them designed by Thupten Jinpa

  • and his team whether they are effective.

  • We have in addition

  • to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for this session.

  • We have Erika Rosenberg.

  • You want to say hello, Erika?

  • Who's a Consulting Scientist, Center for Mind and Brain

  • at the University of California, Davis.

  • And is also a meditation teacher at the Nyingma Institute

  • of Tibetan Studies in Berkeley.

  • In her work she aims to bring together the tools

  • of both science and practice to help people find happiness

  • and freedom from suffering, in her own words.

  • Thank you.

  • Second we have Phillipe Goldin who's the head of the Clinical.

  • [ Applause ]

  • Who's a Senior Research Scientist and head

  • of the Clinically Applied Affective Neuroscience Lab.

  • And then finally Jeanne Tsai who is an Associate Director.

  • Who is Associate Professor in the Psychology Department

  • at Stanford, and Director of the Stanford Culture

  • and Emotion Laboratory,

  • which examines how people's cultural ideas

  • and practices shape their emotions.

  • So we have a distinguished group together with us today.

  • And we're going to start with Erika.

  • Please.

  • >> Dr. Rosenberg: Thank you.

  • First let me thank you for your inspiration to all of us.

  • And for your inspiration for the project

  • that I'm going to tell you about.

  • You spoke yesterday so eloquently about the importance

  • of compassion training.

  • Of making this available to as many people as possible.

  • And for having something that's not wedded

  • to any particular religious point of view or world view.

  • And at CCARE that's been part of our mission.

  • It's the Center for Compassion

  • and Altruism Research and Education.

  • Linda talked earlier about some of the work that's being done

  • in schools, bringing emotional learning together

  • with mindfulness.

  • And what I'm going to present today is an eight-week training

  • program that we've developed here under the leadership

  • of my esteemed colleague, Thupten Jinpa.

  • We're really working from this question.

  • Can compassion be cultivated?

  • And we think the answer to this is yes.

  • But the idea here is that we want to connect

  • into that very inherent nature that we all have.

  • I think there's been a lot of research presented today to say

  • that we're really wired for compassion.

  • As mammals we have a strong nurturing instinct.

  • But for some reason, in this culture in particular,

  • we've gotten separated from that.

  • And so the idea with any kind of training program is to reconnect

  • with that basic good nature.

  • Reconnect with that basic inclination

  • to care for one another.

  • And importantly, and I think we've touched on this

  • with a couple speakers, the importance of taking care

  • of ourselves and remembering to be kind to ourselves,

  • so that all fits into our view.

  • So we had a few key aims in the development of this program.

  • One, as I said, that it be secular.

  • We want to reach as many people as possible

  • so that you do not have to be Buddhist in background,

  • or have any particular religious orientation.

  • That it should be widely accessible

  • to a wide range of people.

  • Going along with that is the idea of simplicity.

  • That you, anybody from a wide range of education levels

  • or socioeconomic status would be able to learn this if they come,

  • if they show up to the class

  • with the proper motivation to develop this.

  • That the tools should be accessible to many, many people.

  • What goes along, I think follows from these two goals of secular

  • and secularity, I don't know if that's a word, and simplicity is

  • that it be standardized.

  • And standardized.

  • [ Jinpa translating ]

  • Yes. So what we mean by that is that it's laid out,

  • if we prepare a manual, which we have, that it's laid out in

  • such a way that any qualified teacher would be teaching the

  • same skills in the same way.

  • And this is of utmost important for dissemination.

  • We want to disseminate it widely so we have to know

  • that it would be taught in the same way by different people.

  • [ Jinpa translating ]

  • But this is...

  • the standardization is also really important for research.

  • This is as much a research tool as an education tool.

  • So if we want at first to see

  • if we can effectively train compassion, or if we also want

  • to ask questions like does compassion training benefit

  • caregivers of people with Alzheimer's Disease?

  • People who are going through an extreme amount of stress

  • in their giving relationship?

  • We need to know that if we administer training to more

  • than one group of people

  • that they're getting it in the same way.

  • So that's why standardization was a key concern.

  • So over the course of eight weeks,

  • and we meet once a week for two hours.

  • And there are home practices.

  • People have home exercises they do every day.

  • We are building a progression of skills.

  • This, we start with settling the mind.

  • We are making no assumptions that people coming

  • in to this class will have any experience with meditation.

  • Some of them might, and we've have students

  • from a wide range of skill levels.

  • But it is of the utmost importance that people be able

  • to calm the body, calm the mind,

  • learn how to sustain attention and stabilize it.

  • And be able to return to an object of focus

  • in spite of distraction.

  • So this is, as you know, foundational for doing any kind

  • of inner contemplative work.

  • But especially for, we build on that by bringing them more

  • in tune with the changes in their bodies

  • that they experience when they're feeling emotions,

  • when they're connecting to other people's emotions.

  • So we always have a strong foundation of settling the mind.

  • And that is sort of like preparing the ground

  • for reconnecting with the heart.

  • Again, this is an intrinsic nature,

  • so they've created the spaciousness.

  • Maybe they can notice that quality

  • within themselves more readily.

  • And we work explicitly with practices for opening the heart.

  • Starting with, as is traditional, those people

  • with whom it's easiest to think, to extend compassion,

  • so we start working with a loved one.

  • And having the students work with connecting their, you know,

  • really conjuring up their feelings of concern

  • when a loved one was suffering,

  • and extending loving kindness to a loved one.

  • Once we've moistened the heart,

  • if you will to use Jinpa's words, and made that more...

  • [ Jinpa translating ]

  • Yeah. Prepared them, it's easier now.

  • We actually encourage them to kind of look

  • within toward themselves, and reconnect with that sense

  • of caring for one's self.

  • As we've discussed, and I think you've discussed

  • in other forums, for Westerners in particular it's difficult

  • to direct love or compassion toward one's self.

  • But we, you know, we try to make it plain, you know.

  • You take care of your basic hygiene.

  • You take care of your food and clothing.

  • You take care of yourself emotionally,

  • and self-soothing is a very basic thing.

  • So contextualizing that is self-care.

  • Once we've worked with that,

  • we kind of pave the way for moving out.

  • Broadening that circle of inclusiveness, and really trying

  • to cultivate an empathic connection with other beings.

  • Reminding them

  • of the fundamental similarities, sameness.

  • You talked about this yesterday as well, that in spite

  • of all our superficial dissimilarities,

  • we all want the same thing.

  • We all want happiness and its causes.

  • We all want to be free from suffering and its causes.

  • And that's just, it's so simple.

  • But, you know, we get into that it's almost a revelation

  • for people to connect with that

  • in an experiential way and remember that.

  • So we do a lot of work with cultivating connection,

  • and recognizing interdependence.

  • And that sort of sets the stage for starting

  • to move out even more.

  • Broadening the circle of inclusiveness not just

  • to loved ones, but to strangers and people

  • with whom their relationships are different.

  • And beginning to work to generate active compassion.

  • So this is what we work with over eight weeks.

  • And we rely on a variety of techniques to do this,

  • so I thought the best way to illustrate this would be

  • to show you an example class.

  • This is sort of the setup for week four when we work

  • on cultivating connection.

  • We begin as always with settling the mind.

  • Every class begins with this.

  • [ Jinpa translating ]

  • So we start each class with settling the mind just to kind

  • of create a foundation, create a space.

  • And everybody's coming from different places

  • after work just to bring it all home.

  • Then we move out into a discussion

  • of what the theme of the week is.

  • And in this case it's Connection and Interdependence.

  • Here we really ask our instructors to draw

  • on a wide variety of areas.

  • So we might from Buddhist psychology talk

  • about interdependence, you know.

  • And just simply the idea of how our actions affect others,

  • and others' actions affect us.

  • And developing an appreciation for how everybody

  • around us really wants the same thing,

  • this fundamental wish for happiness.

  • And we also might draw on some ideas or concepts or findings

  • from Western psychology or neuroscience.

  • Talking about empathy research or maybe, you know,

  • neural neurons in this case.

  • That would be relevant.

  • Really broadening it out.

  • Then we'll do a Western exercise,

  • a more Western-derived exercise plus guided meditations.

  • And in this class the Western exercise is done in pairs.

  • We break people up into pairs, and it's a talking

  • and listening exercise and.

  • [ Jinpa translating ]

  • So in this case the speaker is told to talk

  • about something that's happened recently

  • where they had great disappointment or suffering,

  • and to share that with the listener.

  • And the listener's job is

  • to actively listen silently, not to offer advice.

  • But more importantly to try to imagine what it might have felt

  • like to be in this person's shoes.

  • What, and really conjure up in their body this feeling.

  • So we're really working on the empathic shared feeling.

  • And as we know from several theories

  • of compassion this resonance, this sharing

  • of the feeling is crucial in the development of reaching

  • out land wishing to help.

  • Then we'll have a 30-minute guided meditation practice

  • in terms of.

  • In this class we work on extending the circle

  • of compassion, recognizing importantly the shared

  • aspirations of all beings.

  • And there's a nice little imagery exercise we go

  • through of recognizing

  • for example how many people are responsible