Contemplative Studies Spring Events

For security reasons, the links for the Virtual Contemplative Mentors in Residence Sessions have been removed.  For this information, please contact [email protected]. Scroll further down to find a listing of our CURRENT SPRING EVENTS. 


Topic: Thai Samatha Meditation with Sarah Shaw
Time: January 31, 2022 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
        Every week on Mon, until April 18, 2022, 12 occurrence(s)

Topic: Chinese Qigong Moving Meditation with Larson DiFiori
Time: February 2, 2022 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
        Every week on Wed, until April 20, 2022, 12 occurrence(s)

Topic:  Rinzai Zen Meditation with Masaki Matsubara
Time: February 4, 2022 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
        Every week on Fri, until April 22, 2022, 12 occurrence(s)


February 24, 2022 – Dr. Byeongsang Oh, University of Sydney
Co-Sponsored with Carney Institute for Brain Science
The Catherine Kerr Vital Energy in Health and Healing Lecture and Workshop Series
Lecture:  Tai Chi and Qigong in Medicine:  Opportunities and Challenges
7 – 8:30 pm, EST (Virtual)
To register, please go to
or write to [email protected]

Lecture Abstract:
Tai Chi and Qigong in Medicine:  Opportunities and Challenges

Mounting evidence in recent decades point to the health and well-being benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong (TQ). Several clinical studies conducted in Eastern and Western countries have demonstrated that TQ can play a supportive role in the management of a range of diverse medical conditions and improve the quality of life of individuals with chronic diseases, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, fatigue, hypertension, chronic heart failure and pain. Furthermore, recent research has suggested that TQ has positive impacts on anxiety, depression, balance, insomnia and sleep quality, stress management, cognitive function, Parkinson’s disease, inflammation, antiviral immunity and physical functioning in the elderly. Nonetheless, TQ is not well accepted as a part of standard clinical services in the healthcare system in Western countries. In my session, I will discuss the opportunities and challenges of the clinical application of TQ in the clinical environment and barriers to introducing TQ in Western healthcare systems.

Dr Oh, is an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney and an integrative oncology practitioner (evidence-based complementary medicine) with clinical and research interests in lifestyle medicine (Tai Chi/Qigong), acupuncture, and gut health including the oncobiome. Upon completion of his PhD at the University of Sydney, he undertook further postdoctoral research and clinical experience at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), Harvard Medical School, USA. Currently, he works at the Mater Private Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) and GenesisCare in Sydney, Australia. Dr Oh is an academic researcher, having published numerous journal manuscripts and is conducting ongoing research and teaching at RNSH and the University of Sydney.

February 22, 2022
Contemplative Studies' Spring Virtual Get-Together
5 - 6:30 pm (Virtual)
For a Zoom Link, please contact [email protected]

March 18, 2022 – Prof. Sarah Mattice, University of North Florida
Lecture:  Exploring the Heart Sutra as a Chinese Text
5:30 - 7 pm, EDT (In-Person)
Location:  Smith-Buonanno, Rm. 106

Lecture Abstract: In this presentation I introduce key themes and concerns from my recent book, Exploring the Heart Sutra. Beginning with questions about the origin, authenticity, and composition of this foundational Mahayana Buddhist text, chanted daily around the world, I consider the implications of treating this text as a product of a distinctively Chinese philosophical environment, from issues of translation theory and the complex gender identity of the speaker of the text--Guanyin (she/they)--the Bodhisattva of Compassion, to the relationship between the Buddhism of the text and potential conversation partners with Ruist and Daoist philosophies. 

Sarah Mattice is a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of North Florida. She specializes in East Asian and Comparative Philosophy. In addition to her recent book, Exploring the Heart Sutra (2021), she has also published Metaphor and Metaphilosophy (2014) and numerous articles and book chapters on Ruist (Confucian) and Daoist philosophies and feminist comparative philosophy. 

April 8, 2022 – Prof. Judith Simmer-Brown, Naropa University
XIXth Mary Interlandi '05 Memorial Lecture

Lecture:  When is Compassion Skillful?  Dialogues from Tibetan Buddhism and Science
5:30 - 7 pm, EDT (In-Person)
Location:  Smith-Buonanno, Rm. 106

April 9, 2022 – Prof. Judith Simmer-Brown, Naropa University
Workshop:   Cultivating the Compassion Instinct (In-Person)
Time: 9:30 am - 12 pm; 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Pembroke Hall, Rm. 305

Workshop Abstract: The new science of compassion has found that human beings have a fundamental instinct for kindness but have developed habits of harshness toward themselves and others. How can this compassion instinct be cultivated? Tibetan Buddhism has found powerful ways of awakening this instinct through practices that build from self-compassion to resilient compassion for others, including the difficult people in our lives. This retreat introduces several core lovingkindness practices of Naropa University’s Mindful Compassion Training, integrating the new science of compassion with Tibetan Buddhist meditation. 

Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor Emeritx of Contemplative and Religious Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where she is a founding faculty member.  She advises the Compassion Training Task Force for the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education (CACE) at Naropa, and serves as one of the compassion trainers.  As Buddhist practitioner since the early 1970’s, she became a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1974, and was empowered as an acharya (senior teacher) by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in 2000.  She  leads advanced Vajrayana meditation programs in Shambhala International.  She co-chairs the Contemplative Studies Steering Committee for the American Academy of Religion and serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals.  She serves as co-editor, with Hal Roth and Amishi Jha, of the Contemplative Studies book series for SUNY Press, and now is serving as Guest Editor with her colleague, Jordan Quaglia, of a Special Issue on "Compassion and Skillful Means" for Springer's Mindfulness Journal.  Her book, Dakini’s Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism (Shambhala 2001), explores the feminine principle as it reveals itself in meditation practice and everyday life for women and men.  She also co-edited Meditation and the Classroom:  Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies (SUNY 2011) that inventively demonstrates how contemplative practices can be introduced into the university classroom, and what the benefits are for learning. She and her husband, Richard, have two adult children and three grandchildren.

April 21, 2022 - Prof. Matthew Rahaim, University of Minnesota
Lecture:  Voice of the Nation, Voice of the Self: Changing Vocal Formations in North India
9 - 10:20 am 
Location:  Orwig Hall, Rm. 315

Lecture Abstract:  A voice may seem to be the very expression of selfhood. We recognize the voice of a dear friend across the room; we intuitively catch vibes from how a stranger addresses us; we routinely ascribe ethical character to voices: free or constricted, authentic or fake, arrogant or compassionate. In the age of nationalism, the divination of vocal character often extends to vast collectivities; it is common to read public voices as expressions of a national essence much as a person's voice expresses their sovereign selfhood. 

And yet, voices do not simply spill out ("express") into the world fully formed. Any voice is shaped over many years of practice, pedagogy, and techniques of listening. Even national voices--which are supposed to express a timeless national essence--emerge, coalesce, and dissolve on the scale of decades. 

This talk invites careful listening to the formation and transformation of public voices in North India. We will begin in the 1940s, when we follow the astonishing rise of what is now called "filmi" voice. We will focus on vocal superstar Lata Mangeshkar, who was, by the numbers at least, the most widely-beloved voice in the history of India (and perhaps the world.) Her gentle voice was popularly construed as the quintessential expression of respectable Indian femininity, in ethical contrast to the brash, seductive voices long associated with courtesans. We follow Lata's career over the following decades, as her voice became a model for hundreds of female singers, across genres, regions, and languages. We will then tune into a moment of vocal crisis in the 1990s, when the widespread imitability of Lata's voice evoked a range of public debates about femininity, conformity, and personal expression. As a new popular music sphere opened up in the liberalizing economy of the 1990s, Lata’s voice was often construed as fake, weak, or even oppressive. This new ethical regime called for new, ethically proper voices: grittier, rougher voices, voices of assertive women, rural folk musicians, and charismatic dervishes. The proper subject of such a voice is a sovereign individual standing its ground against a conformist social order, answering only to an inner truth, expressed boldly in song. We will listen closely to one voice in particular that emerged from this moment, known popularly as “sufi” voice. Like Lata’s voice, "sufi" voice seems to evoke a populism that cuts across caste, class, and religion--as well as a new ethical language of vocal being and self-expression. 

Matthew Rahaim a performing Hindustani vocalist in the Gwalior tradition, trained under Vikas Kashalkar and L.K. Pandit. He is Professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Minnesota, with affiliate appointments in Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature and Religious Studies. His first book, Musicking Bodies: Gesture and Voice in Hindustani Music (2012) dealt with bodily-vocal disciplines among Hindustani vocalists. His second book, Ways of Voice: Ethical Contestation and Vocal Striving in North India and Beyond (2021), investigates the ethical-vocal worlds of Bollywood singers, qawwals, classical vocalists, and practitioners of the eclectic contemporary styles known as “singing Sufi” and “singing Western.” Matt’s recent theoretical essays include “Not Just One, Not Just Now: Voices in Relation” in the Oxford Handbook of Phenomenological Ethnomusicology and “Object, Person, Machine, or What: Practical Ontologies of Voice,” in the Oxford Handbook of Voice Studies.

April 22, 2022 - Profs. Srinivas Reddy (Brown University), Matthew Rahaim (University of Minnesota)

 and Suhail Yusuf Khan and Nitin Mitta
Recital:  Hindustani Music  (In-Person)
7 - 8:30 pm
Location:  Friedman Hall, Rm. 102

May 14, 2022 – Sifu Donald Wong
Co-Sponsored with Carney Institute for Brain Science
The Catherine Kerr Vital Energy in Health and Healing Lecture and Workshop Series
Workshop:  A Taste of Qigong
10 am - 1 pm pm, EDT
Brown/RISD Hillel, Winnick Chapel
RSVP to [email protected]