Learning Programs

Training in Compassion: Making your compassion more stable, vast, and effortless

Key Learning Points

Define compassion and understand the origins of compassion

Explore the nature and causes of suffering and how suffering can be overcome

Help expand your compassion to become more stable, vast, and effortless

Understand how to become more comfortable with impermanence

Gain helpful insight about preparing for death and supporting others through the dying process

Learn how to train in maintaining a relaxed, aware mind, while being motivated by the desire to help others


Compassion is important, isn’t it? Caring about the welfare of others is the glue that holds humanity together. A mother or father for his or her child. A friend towards a friend. A doctor towards a patient. A child towards an elderly parent. But our compassion is limited, or so it seems. We’re not able to feel compassion even for all the people in our own lives, not to mention strangers, or those suffering in other countries. Our compassion waxes and wanes, and sometimes we feel like we can’t do it anymore, a condition we call compassion fatigue.

There is a general consensus that the above is true. We try our best, but compassion is just a limited quality that we have to be careful not to use up. Or is it? That’s the question this course will address: Is it possible to train in compassion and by doing so increase our natural capacity to genuinely care about the welfare of others?

We feel compassion can’t be trained because most of us have grown up in cultures that have no tradition of training in compassion. Most cultures encourage caring for the welfare of others but leave it up to the individual to muster the resources.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Luckily, there are well-established traditions in training in compassion, based on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, and it’s possible to apply these training techniques in our own lives regardless of our cultural or spiritual background or where we live. In this course we will access these teachings, and learn about the connection between having a relaxed open mind and allowing our natural compassion to emerge.

By taking this course you will open yourself up to understanding the nature of suffering, and ways to overcome suffering in yourself and others. You will learn how to use meditation to decrease the negative thoughts and emotions that disturb our minds, helping you to feel more relaxed and able to think about others. Training in compassion doesn’t mean you have to try harder; it means removing the obstacles to compassion, making our compassion more stable, from morning to night; more vast, including more people; and more effortless, which means that it is more readily available at a moment’s notice.

Studying compassion is a method through which we can gain many positive qualities in our lives. Ultimately, Buddhist practice and compassion practice become the same thing. As one of our greatest lamas, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, said, “In an absolute sense, compassion is the awakened nature of the mind.” Together we can learn to train in ways that will reduce our own suffering and the suffering of all those around us.

Course Curriculum

Training in Compassion : Introduction 00:00:00
Unit 1 - Defining Compassion
Training in Compassion – Defining Compassion 00:00:00
Unit 2 - Examining Suffering
Training in Compassion – Examining Suffering 00:00:00
The Human Condition is Not Easy 00:00:00
Unit 3 - The Characteristics of Compassion
Training in Compassion – The Characteristics of Compassion 00:00:00
Compassion Fatigue 00:00:00
Unit 4 - Is Our Compassion Limited?
Training in Compassion – Is Our Compassion Limited? 00:00:00
Developing a Compassion Practice 00:00:00
Unit 5 - Meditation and Compassion
Training in Compassion – Meditation and Compassion 00:00:00
An Introduction to Meditation 00:00:00
How to Start Meditating 00:00:00
There is No Perfect Place to Meditate 00:00:00
Unit 6 - Compassion in the Context of Death and Dying
Training in Compassion – Compassion in the Context of Death and Dying 00:00:00
Death- What Will You Experience? 00:00:00
Unit 7 - Loss, Grief, and Hope for the Future
Training in Compassion – Loss, Grief, and Hope for the Future 00:00:00
Wisdom Sees All Beings As Equal 00:00:00
You Are the Love 00:00:00
Bonus Unit - The Six Perfections
Training in Compassion – The Six Perfections 00:00:00

About the Instructor

David Shlim

David R Shlim MD traveled to Nepal in 1979 to volunteer at a high-altitude rescue post near the base of...

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Program Details

51 Students Enrolled


Duration: Lifetime Access

Price: $108.00

Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.