We Are Building American Buddhism

Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

199 Main Street, Suite 3
Northhampton, MA 01060
Telephone: (413) 582-0071
Website: www.contemplativemind.org
Attn: Mirabai Bush

Description of Organization

Founded in 1991, the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society (CCMS) transforms higher education by supporting and encouraging the use of contemplative/introspective practices and perspectives to create active learning and research environments that look deeply into experience and meaning for all in service of a more just and compassionate society.

The CCMS envisions an education that promotes the exploration of meaning, purpose and values and seeks to serve our common human future -- an education that enables and enhances personal introspection and contemplative awareness cultivates the realization of our inextricable connection to all beings, opening the heart and mind to true community, deeper insight, sustainable living, and a more just society.

Grant(s) Awarded

In 2007 and in 2008 the Foundation made grants totaling $130,000 to assist in organization, promotion, tuition and travel support in connection with "the Wise Action Program," a series of five very successful meditation retreats for American leaders, including those in higher education, law, and social justice activism, which were held from November 2007 through Fall 2008. The retreats offered training in personal contemplative practices as well as contemplative methods adapted for the classroom, featuring Buddhist meditation as the central practice. In addition, the Foundation's grant funds were also used to sponsor the Fall 2008 Meditation Retreat for Academics in Higher Education, attended by 29 professors with a wide range of experience in contemplative practice, some of whom are currently teaching courses with a contemplative component and some who are exploring it for the future. The retreat continued to cultivate the Center's newly formed Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education.

Results / Update

Since your generous September 2007 grant, we have held five of the five retreats in our original proposal and the additional academic retreat described in the July 2008 proposal. All were well attended and well received.

Fall Retreat for Academics held at Trinity Conference Center (CT)
November 1-4, 2007

One clear finding from our Fellowship program has been that the effectiveness of a contemplative course is related to the depth of the professor’s contemplative practice and awareness. To support professors in deepening their practices, and encouraged by frequent requests from Fellows, Summer Session grads, and others, the Center held its very successful first retreat for academics, which offered training in personal contemplative practices as well as contemplative methods adapted for the classroom.

Spring Academic Retreat held at the Menla Mountain Retreat Center in Phoenicia, NY
March 28-30, 2008

The second retreat for academics brought together 34 teachers and scholars in higher education with the goal of deepening their own personal contemplative practice and learning about other practices that can be used in their classrooms.

“Holding One Heart and Mind”: A Winter Meditation Retreat for Activists held at Casa Grande Mountain Retreat, Utuado, PR
February 14 - 18, 2008

“Holding One Heart and Mind” was a retreat for the core mentors and staff of the Social Justice Program (SJP) to deepen their meditation practice, build trust and community, and nourish relationships for five days at Casa Grande Mountain Retreat, in Utuado, PR.

Deep Replenishment and Connection: Meditations of Loving Communion and Presence for Social Justice Activism and Service held at Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY
July 18-20, 2008

This summer retreat took place at the Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY on July 18-20, 2008. Twenty (20) inter-generational activists, organizers, social workers, educators and therapists gathered in retreat with Lama John Makransky and his assistant to explore what the meditation of loving communion and wisdom might offer them as they maneuver a culture of work where (1) fatigue and burnout are perceived as a rite of passage, a nonnegotiable in recovering justice for the communities they serve, and (2) where honoring the fundamental goodness for those perceived to be responsible for the suffering and injustice they are working to reverse is not encouraged.

September Retreat for Legal Professionals held at Menla Mountain Retreat Center (NY)
September 11-14, 2008

After a six-year hiatus, the Center’s Law Program returned to New York with a successful Law Retreat this past September. Over 40 lawyers, judges, mediators, professors, and law students gathered to meditate and reflect on their lives as legal professionals.

Fall Retreat for Academics held at Menla Mountain Retreat Center (NY)
November 13 – 16, 2008

The Center presented its third retreat for academics to twenty-nine participants representing twenty-four colleges and universities across North America. These retreats are designed to appeal to professors with a wide range of experience in contemplative practice, some of whom are currently teaching courses with a contemplative component and some who are exploring it for the future.

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