Last weekend, we held the first of our two annual conferences: Compassion: East and West with Lama Yeshe Rinpoche and Prof. Paul Gilbert. We were blessed with a wonderful mix of theoretical presentations, alongside time for the exploration of practices that lead to a more compassionate life.

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Lama Yeshe opened the conference with a thought provoking talk on the importance of a simpler life. He carefully instructed us to refrain from ‘entertaining the greedy mind’, whether it be academic greed, professional greed or simply the accumulation of things. The more we have becomes the more we want, and this can lead to suffering.

Paul Gilbert supported this talk by explaining the evolution of the brain and discussing the fact that our quest for acquiring things is not out faults. Our brains are designed with a drive system, alongside a threat system that are reacting to an over-stimulating Western environment. The problem is simply that our evolved brains have become a bit unbalanced, and we need practices and a change in our habitual tendencies to re-activate our soothing, compassionate system as a means of restoring this balance.

Practice time, along with working with our anxious, angry, and sad selves by becoming more familiar with their voices and meeting them with our compassionate self, enabled everyone to get a felt sense of how practice can lead to change.

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It was, as one participant said, “an excellent weekend, with the right mix of theory and practice. Great teachers & lots of food for thought & inspiration”.

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On Saturday night, Lama Yeshe and Paul conducted a question and answer period. There were many fascinating discussions, ranging from compassionate nursing, to parenting, to governing the country! In this clip, they addressed the problem of trying to please people. Take a look!

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