Lama John Makransky


John Makransky combines an academic career as a professor of Buddhism and comparative theology at Boston College with his role as a spiritual teacher within the natural ease tradition of Tibetan Buddhism (Dzogchen). John has practiced meditations of compassion and wisdom from Tibetan traditions for over thirty years and has pioneered new ways of bringing these powerful contemplative methods into the secular world of social service and social justice by making them newly accessible to people of all backgrounds and faiths. He has also helped many Western Buddhists deepen their contemplative experience of presence and loving compassion.
John has studied and practiced Tibetan Buddhism since 1978 under the guidance of respected Nyingma, Kagyu, and Gelug teachers. In 2000 he was installed as a lama in the lineage of the Tibetan master Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche and Lama Surya Das. John was previously a teacher with Lama Surya Das for Dzogchen Center’s meditation retreats across the U.S., where he became known for guiding participants in their discovery of innate wisdom and love.
John is presently the guiding meditation teacher of the Foundation for Active Compassion, which provides meditation workshops and retreats not only in Buddhist contemplative settings but also in secular settings for social justice activists, social workers, counselors, teachers, therapists, and health care and other helping professionals. These workshops are sponsored by diverse organizations, such as Boston College’s Graduate Schools of Social Work and of Theology and Ministry, the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Contemplative Mind in Society, the Institute of Meditation and Psychotherapy, and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. John recently published a book of contemplative practices and teachings to empower people in relationships, work, service and social action entitled Awakening Through Love: Unveiling Your Deepest Goodness (Wisdom Publications, 2007).
John is also author of Buddhahood Embodied: Sources of Controversy in India and Tibet, coeditor of Buddhist Theology: Critical Reflections by Contemporary Buddhist Scholars, and the author of many articles and essays. Within the American Academy of Religion (AAR), John is co-chair of the Buddhist Theological Reflection Group and a faculty instructor for the AAR’s Summer Seminars on Religious Pluralism and Comparative Theology. In addition, John is senior faculty advisor and lecturer for Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche's Centre for Buddhist Studies in Nepal, affiliated with Kathmandu University and Rangjung Yeshe Institute. He lives outside of Boston with his wife, two sons, and dog.
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