In this episode, Naropa professor Richard Brown discusses the notion of contemplative education, which he explains is about drawing out the full richness of the student as well as the teacher in the learning process. Brown discusses different contemplative practices such as mindfulness, awareness, compassion, and contemplation that are used to draw out the wisdom of the various dimensions of who we are as human beings. “It’s not just about thinking,” he says; “Conventional education trains us to be thinkers and doers, which is very important; but there’s an emphasis in contemplative education about supplementing our thinking process with the wisdom of our emotional life–the wisdom of our sensory experience, of our bodily experience, and of the environment in which we’re learning.”
Richard Brown founded the department of Contemplative Education at Naropa University in 1990. Early in his career, he taught in public school and in a Buddhist-inspired K-12 school. He published a Buddhist view of children’s spiritual development and has been involved internationally in the development of contemplative schools and parenting. Based on his experiences in Naropa’s teacher education programs, Richard has written extensively on various areas of contemplative education. He is a founding member of the Garrison Institute’s Initiative on Contemplation in Education Leadership Council and is a co-developer of the CARE for Teachers program. Since 2009, he has been involved with the holistic and contemplative reform of the Kingdom of Bhutan’s education system. Richard is actively engaged with collaborative projects between Naropa’s Contemplative Education program and the Royal University of Bhutan.