Ji Hyang Padma, Ph.D. has been practicing and teaching Zen for twenty years, 15 of those years as an ordained nun. She has completed several 90-day intensive retreats in Korea and North America. While her practice has been situated within the Korean Zen tradition, she has had the benefit of studying with teachers across a wide spectrum of Buddhist lineages. She is gifted at finding an entry-point into practice for people who are just beginning their journey.
Ji Hyang has combined an academic career with her work as a Zen teacher. She holds a Ph.D in psychology from Sofia University. Her dissertation research focused on consciousness & healing, through the lens of traditional Buddhist healing practices. She currently serves as Director of the Comparative Religion and Philosophy Program at California Institute for Human Science in Encinitas, CA. Her first book, Living the Season: Zen Practice for Transformative Times, was released by Quest Books last year.
Love and compassion are like the weak spots in the walls of ego. They are like a naturally occurring opening. And they are the opening we take. If we connect with even one moment of good heart or compassion and cherish it, our ability to open will gradually expand. Beginning to tune into even the minutest feelings of compassion or appreciation or gratitude softens us. It allows us to touch in with the noble heart of bodhicitta on the spot. –Pema Chodron
So I work on… generating more warmth, more open heart. A good way for any of us to do this is to think of a person toward whom we feel appreciation or love or gratitude. In other words, we connect with the warmth that we already have. If we can’t think of a person, we can think of a pet, or even a plant. Sometimes we have to search a bit. But as Trungpa Rinpoche used to say, “Everybody loves something. Even if it’s just tortillas.” The point is to touch in to the good heart that we already have and nurture it.
At other times we can think of a person or situation that automatically evokes compassion. Compassion is our capacity to care about others and our wish to alleviate their pain. It is based not on pity or professional warmth, but on the acknowledgment that we are all in this together. Compassion is a relationship between equals. So in any moment of hardness, we can connect with the compassion we already have—for laboratory animals, abused children, our friends, our relatives, for anyone anywhere—and let it open our heart and mind in what otherwise might feel like an impossibly frozen situation. –Pema Chodron
Since 1975, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University has continued to be an international leader and pioneer, moving humanity forward in the areas of transpersonal research and transpersonal education. training clinicians, spiritual guides, wellness caregivers, and consultants who apply transpersonal principles and values in a variety of settings. The Sofia educational model offers students not only a solid intellectual foundation, but an extraordinary opportunity for deep transformational growth and personal experience of the subject matter. How does Sofia University accomplish this? The university builds upon its strong, whole-person psychological foundation to give students a greater understanding of the human condition.