Erric Solomon was born in Boston, USA and has been studying and practising Buddhism under the guidance of Sogyal Rinpoche since 1984. Under Rinpoche’s guidance Erric also studied under Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche and Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche in Nepal, and has received teachings from many of the most accomplished Tibetan teachers of the last 30 years.
Erric worked in Silicon Valley, California as vice president of software engineering in one of the world’s largest software companies, before he moved to France in 2006 to do the Three Year Retreat in Lerab Ling. Since the end of 2009 he has been an Executive Director of Rigpa International, where his management experience and his Dharma knowledge are brought to bear. Erric directs the department of Educational Resources and plays a key role in curriculum development. Under Sogyal Rinpoche’s guidance, he has been directing the devlopment What Meditation Really Is, a new dynamic approach which combines a blog, online access to teachings, courses given in Buddhist centres and an online course in order to offer meditation instruction to as broad an audience as possible. Erric is especially interested in developing Public Programmes and exploring ways of communicating the principals of Buddhism outside of a traditional Buddhist context.
For the last month or so I have been reading Maureen Cooper’s fabulous new book, The Compassionate Mind Approach to Reducing Stress Reducing Stress. Combining an authentically Buddhist approach with modern scientific discoveries, this book skillfully addresses one of the most beguiling symptoms of modern life: Stress.
Clifford Saron, PhD at UC Davis, is a pioneer of Meditation Scientific research. His ambitious Shamatha Project where they randomly assigned 60 healthy people with prior meditation experience to an intensive 3-month meditation retreat or a control group.
What many people might not know is that Dr. Saron is a meditator himself. At the Buddhsim and Medicine Forum, I asked him if being a meditator influences him as a scientist. He proceeded to give a fascinating account of crucial events from his childhood up to the present day have contributed to his work.
Born in Burma (now Myanmar) in 1924 to Indian parents and raised in a devout Hindu household, Goenka was a successful businessman. In 1955 he met the Vipassana teacher Sayagyi U Ba Khin who he studied and trained under for the next fourteen years.
I just downloaded the new, absolutely free eBook, edited by Tania Singer and Matthias Bolz. Believe me when I say, you gots to get this! It’s called Compassion: Bridging Practice and Science it is the result of a workshop organized by Dr. Singer in the atelier of Olafur Eliasson and included some of the world’s top Buddhist scholars and teachers, scientists and representative from the best places doing compassion based training and research.
Doctors, Nurses and care givers of all kinds often report that they go through periods of apathy, hopelessness, anxiety and depression in response to constant exposure to human suffering. This is sometimes referred to as “Compassion Fatigue”. Even being exposed to lost of negative stories in the news can trigger symptoms in people. So what is going on?
Emma Seppala, Ph.D, has done groundbreaking work on using yoga and meditation to help veterans cope with post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). Her work is featured in the “Free the Mind” documentary, reviewed here. While the most common treatment is to prescribe drugs, research shows that the drugs very rarely, if ever work. But for patients who meditate and do yoga, there are some very promising results.
Danish filmmaker Phie Ambo’s compelling new documentary “Free the Mind” is not only transformatively moving but informative and hopeful. There's something restorative about watching the gentle, compassionate story highlighting the use of the non-pharmacological methods of mindfulness, yoga and meditation to overcome the anxiety and trauma suffered by the film’s subjects.
Professor Paul Gilbert, OBE has spent much of the last twenty years developing a therapeutic approach which he calls Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT). CFT is not a stand-alone therapy as such, but offers another approach to working or organizing ideas for practitioners of all sorts of therapy. It has been a promising approach, especially when working with patients who experience a great deal of shame or self-criticism.
Andy Fraser and I spent some time with him at the recent Buddhism and Medicine Forum and asked him to explain a bit about CFT and its relationship to Buddhist practice. It is very encouraging to hear about how centuries old practices of mindfulness and compassion can be combined with modern psycho-therapeutic approaches with remarkable results.
The fourth installment of the Buddhism and Medicine series of conferences, a grand experiment bringing together Buddhist Masters, Doctors and Scientists, took place from May 31st through June 2nd at the Lerab Ling Buddhist Retreat Center in France. This year’s forum topic was “Compassion, Empathy and Health” and was attended by over 800 people.