In 2014, Naropa celebrated forty years of contemplative education and reflected on the power of mindfulness and compassion to build an ever more sane, vibrant, and generous world. While it has been nice looking back over the last forty years at how far we have come, we are even more excited to look forward, toward how far we can go.
Excerpts from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche's "Re-ignite the pilot light" talk at the opening of the Naropa Institute in June of 1974. More than 1,200 students attended the talk at Macky Auditorium at the University of Colorado.
"Ram Dass, who for forty-five years or more has been a seminal figure in bringing the deep contemplative traditions of the East, especially Hinduism and Buddhism, to western students, was integral in the launch of Naropa Institute in 1974. In many ways, he and our founder Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche couldn't be more different in their approaches to teaching and working with students. But the fact was that they had deep personal affection and respect for one another. Genuine teachers are like that....Trungpa Rinpoche's invitation to Ram Dass to Naropa's first summer was obvious in many ways. Ram Dass, through his own practice and teaching, not only brought true dharma to his tens of thousands of western students but unfailingly lives his message of compassion and service through the wonderful health care delivered to the poorest among us by his Seva Foundation—the pioneering end-of-life care training through his work with Metta Institute—and so many other manifestations of generosity."—Chuck Lief, Naropa University President
This international gathering focused on one of the most dynamic and important topics of our time: compassion. Compassion is 'radical' when it moves beyond 'being nice' or giving to our favorite charity, and becomes the very foundation of all our actions, the signature of our society. As a cultural imperative, compassion lays a path to a future free of some of our society's greatest downfalls. It is the root of sustainable, positive change, and the key to meeting the challenges of violence, fear, and suffering. Naropa assembled some of the world's most influential practitioners and leaders to explore this compelling topic at our first ever Radical Compassion Symposium.
Naropa University weaves contemplative practice into all our programs and degrees. The practices of mindfulness and self-awareness awaken us to our fundamental connection to others, and inevitably lead to greater compassion. The contemplatives, scientists, and activists at this event share their work, experience and insights on how to bring compassion into action, and make it a tool for personal and social change. Learn more.