Monday, July 15, 2013

Educating the Heart: Ethical mindfulness is the key to happiness

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. 
If you want to be happy, practice compassion." 
~ His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso
Educating the heart, also called Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is "in." Everyone, without exception, wants to be happy. No one wants suffering. That's a universal truth. What does it take to be happy? What are the causes of suffering we need to abandon? What are the causes of happiness we can adopt?

From Mind and Life Institute introduction video

Happiness is a mental state, hence any solution to the conundrum of happiness will be internal, related to the mind, rather than external - "more stuff." "More stuff" doesn't lead to lasting happiness. Acquiring more stuff is like drinking salt water. The more you drink, the thirstier you get. The more stuff you acquire, the more you feel you lack. There's always more and more and more you can get. One ends up chronically dissatisfied. What's the solution? 

Getting off the hamster wheel...

There are three essential conditions or necessary elements for cultivating lasting happiness, a profound sense of well-being, of inner contentment, of inner peace: single-pointed concentration, compassion and wisdom.

COMPASSION is a strong wish that all beings be free of suffering, a deep and sincere concern for others' well-being. The foundation for developing compassion is the practice of universal ethics. In this context, 'universal' means: applied to all without exception, a non-biased ethics. We abandon harming others and gradually adopt a loving and compassionate altruistic outlook, extending our concern beyond the familiar, those who are near to us, to include neutral people, strangers, people we have difficulty with, even our so-called "enemies." Love is the strong wish that all beings be happy, and is a prerequisite and counterpart to compassion, the strong wish that all beings be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.

Developing the Mind of Great Capacity - 2 Methods for Cultivating Compassion 
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Expanding Your Circle of Compassion - Robert Thurman

Exchanging self and others: Tonglen 
Excerpt from The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche (The teacher is problematic but the book is excellent.)
Complete book as free pdf download:

Loving Kindness and Compassion - Geshe Pema Dorjee

WISDOM is the profound understanding of selflessness, of the emptiness of inherent existence of self. In Thich Nhat Hanhs's words: interbeing. We exist interdependently and co-evolve. We ourselves and all compounded phenomena exist in this interdependent, impermanent, continual changing, selfless way.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

~ Matthew 7:3-5 King James Version (KJV)

The more our view of reality is in accord with reality, the less anxiety and the more happiness and well-being we experience. It is said that the ordinary mind perceives: suffering as happiness, impermanence as permanence, and selflessness as self. The wisdom mind perceives: suffering as suffering, impermanence as impermanence, and selflessness as selflessness. Wisdom mind has no confusion, no mistake, no exaggeration of positive or negative projection tacked onto the perceived object - the perception of reality accords with reality. Our mistaken perception of self, of "I," is the "speck in the eye" that gets in the way of clearly perceiving self and others.

3 Root causes of suffering to abandon: ignorance, attachment, aversion
From Integrative Public Health Model to Heal Violence

In order to properly cultivate and internalize compassion and wisdom at the most subtle levels of mind, we must cultivate single-pointed concentration. Single-pointed concentration prepares the mind to be "serviceable and pliant." We can exercise our "mental muscle" in a way that is analogous to exercising our physical muscles. By continually bringing our wandering attention back to a consistent object of concentration - the breath, the body, the mind, or a mental image - we can train and tame our wild and unruly monkey mind, our wild horse mind, our wild elephant mind.

ETHICAL MINDFULNESS, mind training, taming the mind, is essential for happiness. Our mind colors every moment of our experience. In order to have a stable unwavering mind that perceives reality compassionately, yet without exaggeration, we must train our minds.

Excerpt by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on inner peace as our top priority. 
His Holiness ranks 1. inner peace, 2. health, 3. friendship, 4. money, in that order.  

Analytical meditation on the selflessness of self - His Holiness the Dalai Lama 
(See third of three meditations) Buddhist website, generic meditation by His Holiness. Site also has excellent generic intro to meditation.

Two views of the "I" - photo/painting 

Resources for students, teachers, administrators, human beings

Photo from The Dharma Primary School, UK website

How to Meditate on the Breath?
An Experiment in Single-Pointed Concentrative Meditation 

Today's Adventure: 
  • What is meditation? Why meditate?
  • How to meditate on the breath?
  • What did we learn experience or discover?
1. What is meditation?
Meditation is also called mind training, mindfulness or awareness. Meditation = Ethics (not harming others) + Single-pointed concentration We will learn concentrative single-pointed meditation on the breath.

Why meditate?
Meditation helps develop a calm and peaceful mind. By counting 10 or 20 breaths instead of reacting immediately when we're angry, we can deal better with our anger and the situation.

2. How to meditate on the breath?
Sit comfortably. Listen carefully and please follow my instructions....

5-10 minutes every morning upon waking, and every evening before going to sleep. Sit 1. cross legged, or in a chair, feet on floor, 2. straight back is most important, 3. hands on knees, 4. shoulders relaxed, 5. head straight and slightly bent forward, 6. eyes very slightly open, letting in a sliver of light, 7. tongue touches the upper palate. Bring attention to the tip of your nose, where the air comes in and goes out. Notice if you can feel the cooler air coming in and the warmer air going out. Count ten breaths, then repeat. Gradually bring the attention back to the body to end the meditation.

3. Please share aloud (and/or write down), in one or two words or a short sentence, what you learned, experienced or discovered about meditation?

Nurturing Mindfulness in Families, Schools and Youth - Mark Greenberg 45 min
Classroom Handout
Please feel free to copy, use in your classroom, distribute

Ethics is the basis for mindfulness and inner peace. 

Top 10 Ways to Reduce Stress 

3 of Body:
No Killing, No Stealing, No Sexual Misconduct
What to adopt: Saving Lives, Generosity, Fidelity

4 of Speech:
No Lying, No Divisive, Harmful or Meaningless Speech
What to adopt: Honesty, Reconciliation & Conflict Resolution, Kind & Meaningful Speech

3 of Mind:  
No Envy, No Harmful Intent, No Wrong Views - 
especially no mistaken view of self, no exaggerated self-importance
What to adopt: Rejoice in Others' Happiness, Benefit Others, Put Others Before Self

Good Mantras

A Mindful Nation for Our Children:

Building a Mindful Nation for Our Children with Congressman Tim Ryan:

Being Your True Nature 

Free the Mind - Trauma recovery with mind training (Just about everyone's got it.)


Ethics links:

The Dalai Lama Foundation (DLF):

Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World  (DLF study guide in preparation)

Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche quote on mindfulness and ethics

Ethics for a More Prosperous World - H.H. the Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje:
Educating the Heart / Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), Programs and Trainings:

CASEL Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

Nurturing Mindfulness in Families, Schools and Youth - Dr. Mark Greenberg, University of of Pennsylvania

Goldie Hawn Foundation - MindsUP

Nation of Change article on SEL

Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Dr. Richard Davidson

Cognitive-Based Compassion Training, Emory-Tibet Partnership

Being Your True Nature trailer - Osel Hita
(16 Guidelines, also above, under Ethics
Becoming Your Own Therapist by Lama Yeshe - wonderful book, free download

Congressman Tim Ryan - A Mindful Nation
Building a Mindful Nation for Our Children 5:08 min 
The Holistic Life Foundation After School Program

Bhutan Schools Focus on "Gross National Happiness" 4:06 min

Sir Ken Robinson:
Janna Weiss' cautionary note: Creativity is only useful if coupled with compassion, with a pure motivation to benefit others. The A bomb was also a creative endeavor.
More Great Education Links:

Bunker Roy - Learning from a barefoot movement

Bhutan Gross National Happiness and Sustainability 

The Drugging of Our Children - Gary Null

Compassion Research - Contemplative Neuroscience: 

Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (also above)

Emory-Tibet Partnership (also above)

Mind and Life Institute
Mind and Life intro 8:24 min

Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Stanford University

DeSteno, D. The Morality of Meditation. New York Times. July 5, 2013

Weng et al. Multi-Voxel Pattern Analysis of Brain States After Compassion Training Predicts Charitable Donations. Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) 2012.

Take Compassionate Action:

Begin a daily meditation practice.

Start or join a Study Circle for Ethics

Sign the Charter of Compassion

Participate in the Compassion Games

Watch Occupy Love (full film for a small fee) and/or I Am (hope this Vimeo link is ok to offer)

Share with others.

May all beings be happy. May all beings be free of suffering and its causes.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Tibet Is a Major Global Issue

Environment, Peace, Health
Janna Weiss on WBAI Talkback with Hugh Hamilton 
January 9, 2013
4:30 min

Start 01:39:15 to 01:43:27  (04:12 min)
WBAI link expired on April 9, 2013

Hugh Hamilton:
And you're on the air. Good afternoon.
Hello. You're on the air. Yes.

Janna Weiss:
Hello, Mr. Hamilton.
It's a pleasure to speak to you.
I appreciate WBAI very much.

Hugh Hamilton:
Thank you.

Janna Weiss:
I'd like to talk to you about the Tibetan issue, which is one of the most critical and important global issues today, which is really absent from the public discourse.

Hugh Hamilton:

Janna Weiss:
95* Tibetans have self-immolated within Tibet because they are suffering really brutal oppression for over fifty years with no freedom of religion and really a cultural genocide that is ongoing.
And there are 10,000 Tibetans living in New York, and it would be great to give voice, I think, to the issue.

The issue is a global issue for environmental reasons... for three main reasons. One is the environmental issue. Tibet is considered the Third Pole of the world. The Himalayan snow is the source water for the.. the ice caps of the Himalaya are the snow [source] for drinking water for about 10 major Asian rivers, for 60% of humanity, and they're melting at an extraordinary rate due to inappropriate human activity - mining and damming and so forth.

Hugh Hamilton:

Janna Weiss:
They're in the process of displacing and settling 1.4 million nomads who live in harmony with the environment and tend the pasturelands of Tibet. And Tibet is beginning to undergo desertification and 1.4 million nomads will have nothing to do in cement houses.

Hugh Hamilton:
That's the first issue, you said. You said there are three reasons.

Janna Weiss:
There are three. Yeah.

Hugh Hamilton:

Janna Weiss:
The second one is non-violence, and if we really want to promote peace in the world, then we really need to stand behind the non-violent path, and the non-violent struggle of 6 million Tibetan people who live in the high plateau. And so.. to encourage dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflict, and to send a strong message also to communities where they may be less committed to non-violence as the Tibetans. That's the second issue.

And the third issue is the aspect of health.
Tibetans are world experts on mental health.
In fact, mental illness is rare in Tibet.
And they've been collaborating, the Tibetans, and Tibetan meditation masters, with neuroscientists, for over two decades now, with Mind and Life Institute, and The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education - CCARE at Stanford, and Richard Davidson's research at the University of Wisconsin Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM) and so forth, and Harvard.
And there's no question that a practice of ethics stands at the foundation of mental health and peace of mind, and the less stress we have, as the result of meditation and the practice of ethics, then also, we have better physical health.

Hugh Hamilton:
I'll tell you what. I'll tell you what.
You've made a very... You've made a very compelling case, and you've articulated very well, and very clearly, several of the reasons why this is such an important issue, the Tibetan issue, and I have taken this on advisement. If you are able to do so and you can, send me a follow-up email, I'd be more than happy to... I'd be more than happy to communicate with you further on this...

Janna Weiss:
Thank you very much. (very softly)

Hugh Hamilton:
...Because it seems to me as well that you might be able to make a contribution to the conceptualization of such a segment based on your knowledge and expertise in the field. So, please do send me an email when you have a moment to do so. Put "Tibet" as your subject, and I look forward to hearing further and to working with you to bring the issue to the air. Okay?

Janna Weiss:
Thank you so very much.

Hugh Hamilton:
You are very welcome. Thank you very much indeed.
~  ~  ~

Follow-up email to Mr. Hugh Hamilton  
~ embedded videos

From: Janna Weiss
Date: Fri, Jan 11, 2013
Subject: Tibet - Talkback follow-up
To: Hugh Hamilton

Dear Mr. Hamilton,

Thank you for the opportunity to share about Tibet yesterday on Talkback and for your kind response.

As I mentioned, Tibet is a major global issue. I believe that resolution of the Tibetan issue is key to resolving global corruption, from which we all suffer.
At least 95 Tibetans inside Tibet have self-immolated for the return of the Dalai Lama, for freedom for the Tibetan people and for world peace.
6 million Tibetans reside on the Himalayan high plateau and have been enduring a systematic cultural genocide for over 60 years.
About 1,200,000 Tibetans have been killed and over 6000 monasteries destroyed since the communist invasion began in 1950.

Central Tibetan Administration - Issues Facing Tibet Today

What Is China Doing In Tibet?

Cultural Genocide in Tibet

Tibet is a #1 environmental issue. Tibet is considered the global Third Pole. Its glaciers are sourcewaters for 10 major Asian rivers, providing water to about 4 billion people, 60% of humanity. The Tibetan glaciers are melting due to mining, military activity, damming for hydroelectric power, deforestation, mass decimation of wild herd animals, resettlement of 1.4 million nomadic yak herders that graze Tibet's immense grasslands. Tibet is also experiencing desertification.

Tibet - The Third Pole 3:53 min

Tibetans are Tibetan Buddhists and are committed to non-violence. The democratically elected Tibetan government in exile supports the Dalai Lama's Middle Way approach to peaceful resolution of the longstanding conflict with China through dialogue. Support for the Tibetan non-violent struggle will send a strong message of support for non-violent conflict resolution to communities around the world who may be less committed to non-violence than the Tibetans.

Why Is Tibet Burning? Tibetan Parliament in Exile explains self-immolation (or read the text: )

Why The Dalai Lama Matters - Prof. Robert Thurman, Columbia University 3:48 min
[Transcript here - close window scroll for English]

Why The Dalai Lama Matters - Prof. Robert Thurman and Pico Iyer (like a long Talkback) 108 min

The Tibetans are experts on mental health who mass produced enlightened teachers in a vast network of monasteries for 1300 years, since Buddhism came to Tibet.

 The Habits of Happiness - Ven. Matthieu Ricard

Mental illness is rare in Tibet. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan meditation adepts have been collaborating with neuroscientists for close to three decades. Neuroscientific findings conclusively show that Tibetan meditation techniques lead to objective measures of happiness, for example, as determined by strong activity in the left pre-frontal cortex. Ven. Matthieu Ricard, once a molecular biologist and today a Tibetan Buddhist monk, has been dubbed 'the happiest man in the world' and his happiness measure is 4.5 standard deviations outside the bell curve of a control group of 150 non-meditators, for left/right pre-frontal cortical activity (right = unhappy, destructive emotions). Graph from The Habits of Happiness by Matthieu Ricard attached.

The two essentials of meditation are single pointed concentration and ethics (concentrative and analytical meditation, respectively).
Better mental health, greater peace of mind, a calm mind, less stress, contribute to better physical health. The Dalai Lama prioritizes: peace of mind, health, friends, money, in that order.

 Mind and Life Institute Mind and Life Intro

Prof. Richard Davidson, University of Wisconsin
Transform Your Mind, Change Your Brain, Richard Davidson lecture

Nurturing Mindfulness in Families, Schools and Youth Mark Greenbery, University of Pennsylvania

Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education

Harvard - Tibetan Buddhist monks - Meditation & Science

Trance and Mental Health

NYC Tibetan contacts
10,000 Tibetans live in NYC. When Tibet is free, the Tibetans will return to Tibet. About 200,000 Tibetans reside in exile.
The Office of Tibet
The Tibetan Community of NY and NJ
Tibet House - cultural
Students for a Free Tibet

Reliable news source: Phayul

Tashi delek! (auspicious Tibetan greeting)

Blessings for happiness,


Janna Weiss, Ph.D., L.Ac.
New York

~  ~  ~
*As of today, more than 107 Tibetans have self-immolated for freedom. 
Please see what you can do:

Updated December 1, 2013 - More than 123 Tibetans have self-immolated for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom for the Tibetan people.
Please see what you can do for Tibet:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Freedom

Image of His Holiness the Dalai Lama enthroned in a monastery in Eastern Tibet


WARNING: This video contains graphic images.

The People's Republic of China invaded Tibet in 1949 and, since then, Tibet has remained under its iron-fisted control.

As of Dec 1, 2012, 90 Tibetans have self-immolated, with one in 2009, 12 in 2011, and 77 in 2012. 28 self-immolations took place this past November alone, with as many as 5 in one day.


...the act of setting one's body on fire as a form of political protest as witnessed in Vietnam, Czechoslovakia and Tunisia.

Do you know this is happening in Tibet?
If you don't, you're not alone. According to TIME Magazine, self-immolation is one of the top underreported news stories of 2011.

Today, Tibetans are reaching out to you.

-Students' Protest Amdo, Tibet 2012-


They are students, mothers and fathers, monks and nuns, nomads and farmers.



The photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama are banned and the Chinese Communist Party controls the monasteries.

70% of the businesses in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet, are owned or run by Chinese. 40% of Tibetan high school and college graduates are unemployed.

Tibetan has been removed as the language of instruction and replaced with Mandarin.

Over 100 different kinds of minerals are found in Tibet and billions of dollars of mineral resources are exploited.

At the end of 2015, 1.4 million Tibetan nomads will have been forcibly settled.


Return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom.


"Father, being a Tibetan is so difficult. We can't even say our prayer before the Dalai Lama's portrait. We have no freedom at all..." ~Tenzin, 23 year old herdswoman, mother of a 6 year old boy

"...the Chinese Communist Party arrests and tortures those who demand Tibetan rights. They defame the Dalai Lama and anyone who does not recognize Tibet as part of China will disappear or be assassinated." ~Gudrup, 43 years old, writer

"Tibet has been invaded, repressed and cheated by China. We self-immolated for our misery and lack of basic human rights as well as for world peace."~-Sonam, 24 years old, student

"Dignity is the spirit of a nationality, the courage for justice, the compass leading to future happiness [...] It is the wisdom to distinguish right from wrong." ~Sopa Rinpoche, 42 years old, monk

Ngawang Norphel self-immolated on June 20, 2012
"My people have no freedom of language. Everybody is mixing Tibetan and Chinese... What has happened to my Land of Snow? What has happened to my Land of Snow? ...This [self-immolation] is for the sake of Tibet. If we don't have our freedom, our cultural traditions and language, it would be extremely embarrassing for us. We must therefore learn them..."
Ngawang Norphel died a month after recording this message.

Tibetan Parliament-In-Exile
From the beginning of the self-immolations, the Tibetan leadership has appealed to Tibetans in Tibet not to resort to drastic actions.

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, democratically elected political head, addressing a Special Tibet Support Groups Meeting, Nov 2012, Dharamsala, India:
"As a human being, we don't want to see anyone die like that, and it is a natural reaction for a human being to say, "Please, don't die like that." That's why the Central Tibetan Administration has made repeated appeals to Tibetans inside Tibet not to resort to drastic actions, including self-immolations, but it persists. Now, as a Tibetan, what do you do? As a Tibetan, you show solidarity, because they are dying for Tibet and for Tibetan people."


How many more Tibetans must die before the world wakes up and intervenes?

Stand in solidarity with Tibet now.


Do you?

Here is what you can do...

Join the Solidarity with Tibet campaign called by Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and the Kashag.

Share this video. FB, Twitter, The Marker, Tapuz...


For more information:

Department of Information and International Relations
Central Tibetan Administration
Dharamsala, India
As of Jan 27, 2013, 100 (102) Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet.