Week 7: Active Compassion (Tonglen)

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Pema Chodron (2002) Meditation on the Spot  https://tricycle.org/magazine/tonglen-spot/  Tricycle: the Buddhist Review

Pema Chodron (2018) Transforming the Heart of Suffering  https://www.lionsroar.com/transforming-the-heart-of-suffering/  Lion’s Roar

Kristen Renwick Moore (2010) The Roots of Moral Courage  https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/roots_of_moral_courage  Greater Good

Jason Marsh and Dacher Keltner (2006) We are all bystanders  https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/we_are_all_bystanders  Greater Good

Elizabeth Svoboda (2019) How to Renew Your Compassion in the Face of Suffering  https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_renew_your_compassion_in_the_face_of_suffering  Greater Good



Pema Chodron (4 mins) Tonglen Meditation  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwqlurCvXuM

Daniel Goleman (13 mins) Ted Talk  “Why Aren’t We More Compassionate”  https://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_goleman_on_compassion?language=en

Oprah Winfrey talks to Thich Nhat Hahn (22 mins)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ9UtuWfs3U


 Research Articles:

Vastfja D., Slovic P., Mayorga M., Peters E. (2015)  Compassion Fade.  PLOS

“In a rational world, as threats to life increase in scale, potential efforts to prevent harm should increase proportionally.  Decisions at organizational and political levels regarding the allocation of resources for humanitarian aid are characterized by how the need of others is perceived.  Public policy decisions reflect public opinion on specific issues, and individual responses towards humanitarian crises are likely informing and guiding these decisions.  The main tenet of the present research is that compassion and therefore societal concern often decrease rather than increase in the face of greater threats. The primary aim of the present article is to understand the psychological underpinnings of this perverse phenomenon. More specifically, we propose and test the hypothesis that the needs of others induce affective feelings, and that donors often experience the strongest feelings for a single identified person in need.  As the number of needy persons increases, affective feelings and action may begin to diminish.  Such ‘‘compassion fade’’ has implications for traditional theoretical models of valuation and, more broadly, for the welfare of society.”


Coetzee & Laschinger (2018) Toward a Comprehensive, Theoretical Model of Compassion Fatigue

This study was an integrative literature review in relation to compassion fatigue models, appraising these models, and developing a comprehensive theoretical model of compassion fatigue. The compassion fatigue model shows that it is not empathy that puts nurses at risk of developing compassion fatigue, but rather a lack of resources, inadequate positive feedback, and the nurse’s response to personal distress. By acting on these three aspects, the risk of developing compassion fatigue can be addressed, which could improve the retention of a compassionate and committed nurse workforce.



Kristen Renwick Moore (1998) The Heart of Altruism