Think Out Loud: Science of Compassion

↑ Play OPB‘s Think Out Loud: The Science of Compassion.

THE DALAI LAMA has said “people often think that love and compassion are only matters of religious concern, but in fact such values are necessary in all human relations.” It may even be true that exercising compassion for others helps to reduce stress, and lead to improved physical and mental health. Thupten Jinpa, the Dalai Lama’s English translator for 30 years, has made it his mission to study the science of compassion.

Jinpa is a member of the advisory board of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, where he developed a course in “Compassion Cultivation Training” which has been tested as a treatment for veterans with PTSD. Jinpa is also the Chairman of the Mind and Life Institute, and an adjunct professor at McGill University in Montreal.

We talk to Thupten Jinpa about his new book “A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives.”

WHILE LISTENING to The Science of Compassion, enjoy this eighteenth-century pattern book consisting of 36 ink drawings showing precise iconometric guidelines for depicting the Buddha and Bodhisattva figures. Written in Newari script with Tibetan numerals, the book was apparently produced in Nepal for use in Tibet. The concept of the ‘ideal image’ of the Buddha emerged during the Golden Age of Gupta rule, from the 4th to 6th century. As well as the proportions, other aspects of the depiction – such as number of teeth, colour of eyes, direction of hairs – became very important. The V&A have produced a good guide to the iconography of the Buddha, including the 32 Lakshanas or special bodily features.

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