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Compassion Practitioner Certificate Course


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Suggested contribution: £560.00


We are re-running this successful and comprehensive training in compassion which is a follow on programme for those who have completed the one year Mindfulness training. This training is delivered over three weekends and is a secular and experiential training. During the training we will be drawing on certain wisdom resources, in particular Evolutionary Psychology and Neuroscience and Mahayana Buddhism. While there have been many approaches to compassion throughout the ages, right now there is a big conversation going on between Buddhism, Science and Psychology about the meaning and application of compassion, and this will be our main focus. Emphasis is placed on experiential learning, and for this reason there are home assignments between weekends that include regular compassion practice, daily life exercises and journal writing.

Choden one of the Mindfulness Association tutors has been heavily involved in the development and facilitation of the Compassion One Year Training course. Choden has recently co authored a book with Paul Gilbert (a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Derby) called Mindful Compassion. This new book offers practical step by step advice for using the skills of Mindfulness and Compassion to build our inner capacity for responding more wisely and kindly to the stresses of our inner emotional lives and the conflicting pressures of our everyday lives. Recent research has shown that the ability to develop Compassion towards oneself and others has a profound impact on our minds, health, happiness and those we relate to, whilst Mindfulness enables us to stand back and be more objective. The book is available for £20.00 plus postage from the Samye Ling Book Shop for more information please click here.

Weekend One - Introduction to Compassion

In the first module, we build self- compassion into the core mindfulness practice of settling, grounding, resting and support. We contextualise this practice within the evolutionary model of compassion that is grounded in neuroscience and psychology. A key insight here is that we are caught in an ‘evolutionary set up’ that is not of our choosing and not our fault. We link this insight to the Mahayana Buddhist metaphor of the ‘lotus in the mud’: how true compassion grows out of the mud of our lives (the disowned, disliked and difficult parts of ourselves). We then begin to cultivate positive emotions as a way of building up an inner resource from which to approach the difficulties that are part and parcel of being alive. This will include working with compassionate imagery.

Weekend Two – Working with the Self Critic

In the second module, we continue to build our inner compassionate resource through compassionate imagery and mindful self- compassion practice. At this point, we approach the self -critic: that persistent inner voice that is harsh and condemning, and always finding fault in what we do. First, we experience what it feels like to be on the receiving end of its repeated attacks, and then we look behind the critic to what is driving it; and in this way we begin to develop compassion for this part of ourselves. This raises the question - what would it be like to cultivate an inner voice that is kind and supportive, and to live your life from this place, rather than from a place of destructive self- criticism?

Weekend Three – The Four Limitless Qualities

This is the point where we move from self- compassion towards compassion for others. Although, self- compassion always remains as the foundation of our practice because this is what makes our practice real and allows us to understand what others go through. In this module we focus on the four limitless qualities of equanimity, love, compassion and joy. They bring a sense of balance and perspective to our practice of compassion by helping us step outside our narrow preferences, by generating love and friendliness to our inner and outer worlds, by responding appropriately to pain and suffering, while also appreciating the good things in our lives. We will also introduce tonglen, the practice of taking and sending, through which we actively engage with and transform the suffering we encounter in our lives.

Weekend Four – Compassion in Action

It is not enough to learn about compassion or do compassion practices – the crucial thing is how to embody compassion in the way we live, work and relate. In this module, we look at how to work skilfully with the blocks to compassion and we explore how to integrate compassion into all that we do. We also bring the threads together from the previous three modules and provide an opportunity for deepening practice supported by individual practice reviews with the tutors, during which we support each participant in their next steps after the training.

The tutors will be Jennifer Rylands and Alan Hughes

If you have completed a Compassion Practitioner Foundation course, to book this course place please contact for the booking link.

Cost: £560 for all four weekends, including manuals, payable in four monthly installments of £140.