Yale-NUS Contemplative Education Series

25 March 2019 (Mon) , 4:00 PM
At Tan Chin Tuan Lecture Theatre

Judith Simmer-Brown, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies at Naropa University, where she is a Founding Faculty member and has taught for over 40 years. Naropa University has pioneered contemplative education, bringing mindfulness and contemplative pedagogies into every academic discipline and every classroom in the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences. Simmer-Brown is the founder of Naropa’s Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education (CACE), and now serves as Senior Advisor. She is an Acharya (senior dharma teacher) in Shambhala International and teaches meditation widely. She co-chairs the Contemplative Studies Steering Committee for the American Academy of Religion, and is the author of Dakini’s Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism (Shambhala) and editor, with Fran Grace, of Meditation and the Classroom: Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies (SUNY). She serves as co-editor, with Hal Roth and Amishi Jha, of a new Contemplative Studies book series for SUNY Press.

All events are sponsored by the Teaching Innovation Grant, Center for Teaching and Learning, and Psychology Major.


First-Person Inquiry in Contemplative Education: Methods for the Classroom

Monday, March 25, 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm, Tan Chin Tuan Lecture Theatre

Core to the innovation of bringing mindfulness into the university classroom has been the introduction of first-person inquiry as academic method.  With the influences from Chilean neuropsychologist Francisco Varela and Dutch psychotherapist Han deWit, first-person inquiry became a respected component of academic learning that requires specific training in order to avoid the conundrum of mere impulsive reactivity.  This lecture defines first-person inquiry, and presents a variety of methods for training with examples from the university classroom.  Examples will be drawn from the classrooms of Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado, the pioneer in contemplative education.

Note: Open to the University-wide Community


Contemplative Pedagogy in Higher Education: A Dialogue

Tuesday, March 26, 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm, Saga College Private Dining Room

In this session, Prof. Judith Simmer-Brown will engage in a discussion with members of the Yale-NUS community concerning the incorporation of contemplative pedagogy in higher education in different contexts, including USA and Singapore. Panelists include Prof. Parashar Kulkarni, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Ms. Anh-Le Ho-Gia, instructor of mindfulness courses for students and faculty at Yale-NUS. The session will be moderated by Prof. Shian-Ling Keng, Assistant Professor of Psychology.

Note: Open to Faculty Members


Words and Sense: Contemplative Academic Writing Workshop

Tuesday, March 26, 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm, Classroom 16

How do contemplative pedagogies inform learning skills such as academic writing?  This workshop draws on the Tibetan Buddhist distinction between the literal meaning of words (drangdon) and their inner sense (ngedon), from an account from the sacred biography of the Indian saint Naropa (956-1041), abbot of Nalanda University.  Adapting these concepts to the contemporary secular classroom, this workshop shows how writing pedagogies that integrate third-person inquiry drawn from conventional academic research with first-person inquiry, the result of inner research, can open up fresh perspectives for academic writing.

Note: Open to Faculty Members only (pre-registration required)

Link to Register: https://tinyurl.com/y5xbqxfo


Demonstration of Contemplative Pedagogy Approaches: Open Classroom Session for Students

Wednesday, March 27, 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm, Venue: Classroom 10 (Kewalram Chanrai Room)

Note: Faculty are welcome to attend and observe


Rector’s Tea: Buddhist Resources for Addressing Power and Privilege: The Four Noble Truths

Wednesday, March 27, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm; Venue: Elm Rector Commons

While traditional Buddhist teachings specialize in identifying personal conceptual and emotional obscurations, as opposed to structures of societal oppression, they serve as a powerful ground for our thinking through the dynamics of power and privilege in contemporary society.  This discussion will suggest how contemplation of the Four Noble Truths might help the Buddhist discover creative ways of identifying these dynamics and identifying ways to change them for the benefit of society.

Co-sponsored by Dharmic Religions Focus Group

Note: Open to All Students and Faculty