Experts in theology, neuroscience, psychotherapy, ecology and anthropology will make presentations at a November conference at Cal Poly Pomona to discuss how care, compassion and meditation can help promote nonviolence in families and communities.
“As an integrated whole, care, compassion and mindfulness is a manifestation of ahimsa, or nonviolence in practice,” says History Professor Tara Sethia, director of the Ahimsa Center.
The interdisciplinary conference will feature presentations on scientific studies and experiments on these three attributes and how individuals, organizations and communities can cultivate them.
Care is the concern people feel for the well-being of others and themselves, and it is essential for relationships and makes life meaningful, Sethia says.
It also is at the heart of compassion – the empathetic response to suffering, which is an inescapable fact of human existence, she says. Compassion can help heal the wounds of suffering, whether they are from natural disasters or human calamities, Sethia says.
Mindfulness is the awareness of one’s thoughts and actions and of others’ well-being. Cultivated through meditational practices, it makes caring more effective and compassion more curative, Sethia says.
Participants also will discuss the significance of care, compassion and mindfulness in business, politics, schools, prisons, and the natural world, as well as how they can address psychological, social, medical and spiritual challenges.
The speakers at the conference come from the academic, nonprofit and business world. They include:
- Christopher Key Chapple, Doshi Professor of Indic Studies and Theology at Loyola Marymount University.
- James R. Doty, founding director, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, and clinical professor of neurosurgery, Stanford School of Medicine.
- Jenny Phillips, cultural anthropologist, psychotherapist, and producer of the documentary “Dhamma Brothers.”
- Lobsang Rapgay, director of clinical training at the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center at UCLA.
- Samani Charitrapragya, vice chancellor, Jain Vishaw Bharti University in India.
- Jeff Smith, co-founder and CEO of Lunar Design.
- Michael Tobias, global ecologist, author and filmmaker.
- B. Alan Wallace, president, Santa Barbara Institute of Consciousness Studies.
- Gianfranco Zaccai, chairman, Design Continuum.
The three-day event is expected to draw about 200 people. Faculty, staff and students are invited to participate and can register online or in-person at the event.
This is the sixth conference that the Ahimsa Center has hosted in its 10-year history. The center is part of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences.
Its focus is on interdisciplinary teaching and learning about nonviolence and its applications at the individual, interpersonal, societal, national and international levels. The center provides forums, outreach and educational initiatives about nonviolence for college students, educators and the community at large.
For program details, including schedule and registration information, please visit: