Compassion Education Resources
Welcome to our Compassion Education resources page. Here, you will find various resources developed by The Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion and partners centred around teaching ethics, compassion, and social-emotional learning. All materials are drawn from the most recent research from leaders in education, psychology and psychology. We hope you find them useful in your work with children and young people. Should you need any further support or guidance or suggest how we could improve our resources, please contact us via email@example.com.
Compassion Matters (9-14 Year Olds)
Below you will find links to download zip files for each of our Compassion Matters modules. Compassion Matters can be downloaded as a zip file and contains a module introduction that gives guidance about each module. The download includes lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, films, audio, worksheets, and reading lists.
We recommend you read our Compassion Matters Course Guide before using the materials, as this will give you useful hints and tips on how to run the course effectively.
If you are having problems downloading the modules, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why Compassion? (14-18 Year Olds)
Our new Why Compassion? Workshops are now available to be booked for the 2021-22 academic year. The workshops offer an opportunity for students to engage with the science, evolution and ethics of compassion in an interactive and engaging 45-60 minute session. Student’s will leave the session with a deeper understanding of why compassion is critical for individual flourishing and societal wellbeing. Participants will also be provided with practical skills to help manage stress and practice compassion independently.
To book an in-person or Zoom workshop, please get in touch with our Executive Director, Jimi Slattery, via email@example.com.
Educator’s Compassion Toolkit
This educator’s toolkit contains resources for teacher’s to deepen their knowledge of Compassion Education and to support their own wellbeing. Users can work through each resource one by one or pick the individual resource which is the most helpful at the time. The Dalai Lama Centre has developed these with the support of our friends and partners with special thanks to SEE Learning, Thupten Jinpa and The Sir Halley Stewart Trust.
The roots of compassion education can be found in many fields, including social and emotional learning, neuroscience, psychology and ethics to name a few. Compassion training, in its various forms, can contribute to an individual’s personal and social wellbeing. These introductory resources offer a deeper insight into the history and science of compassion education and training.
Introduction to Compassion Education Video
Why Compassion is the Key to Wellbeing- Thupten Jinpa
The Science of Compassion – Thupten Jinpa
Settling the Mind
The first stage in any compassion training is settling the mind. You may be familiar with this mindfulness practice, the act of enabling the mind to be calm and not attached to any thoughts. Instead, the mind observes its state and is an excellent way of growing awareness of ones own thoughts and feelings.
Settling and focusing the mind is considered a basic skill essential for any form of mental reflection. You will be invited to use techniques such as breath counting or mindful listening to settle the mind. Then encouraged to observe thoughts and emotions in a dispassionate, purely observational manner. Settling and observing are fundamental elements of mindfulness practice and part of the psychoeducation on noticing the habitual patterns of our mental content. The overarching theme is fostering mental awareness as a foundation for all subsequent meditation practices.
These resources offer an introduction to settling the body and mind which alone can be helpful to bring peace at a point in your day.
Settling and Focusing the Mind (20:51)
Body Scan Audio (8:21)
Self-compassion involves being aware of our own pain and suffering, and understanding that this is a hard, but normal human experience. Directing feelings of kindness and care towards ourselves, and focusing our attention and energy on how we might alleviate our pain, are also crucial components of self-compassion. Self-compassion can bring great benefits for our mental health and well-being. Particularly, self-compassion can activate our soothe system, which calms the threat and drive systems. Our threat and drive systems tend to be overactive for many of us much of the time, and responsible for the difficult emotions we may be struggling with (e.g., anxiety, anger, depression). The opposite of self-compassion is self-criticism. This very negative thinking style often links to difficult emotions and mental health problems. Those who are highly self-critical particularly need to develop the ability to relate to themselves in a compassionate way.
Self Compassion Practice Audio (5:51)
Compassion for Another
The next stage of practising compassion is to develop greater compassion for others. Compassion is often described as the act of noticing another’s suffering, understanding that suffering then acting to alleviate that suffering. Acts of compassion to others are critical for developing positive social relations with others and creating cohesive communities.
Two key elements are emphasised for generating genuine compassion towards others. First, common humanity, or the recognition of the similarity of the fundamental needs and aspirations between oneself and others, involves the recognition of the shared human desire for happiness and freedom from suffering. Common humanity, or this “just like me” perspective, is considered to be essential for empathy, i.e., the ability to take the perspective of another.
The second insight is an appreciation of the interconnectedness of all beings. For example, recognising and acknowledging how we depend on countless others for basic survival (e.g., food and shelter) and for their personal wellbeing (e.g., safety and education). You are encouraged to generate feelings of gratitude towards others known and unknown who have supported them both directly and indirectly. This insight overrides the overlearned habitual tendency to perceive and treat others as separate, independent and disconnected beings. Instead, a more refined perspective is generated that understands the vast and profoundly interconnected nature of all beings. This discernment engenders expansive compassion that gives rise to a universal sense of belonging, an interdependence of self and others, and a willingness to take action to alleviate pain, confusion, and suffering in the world.
These resources explain this concept further and offer activities to help with the development of greater compassion for others.
Kindness for Another Audio (7:42)
Beginners Compassion Practice Audio (5:59)
Compassion for a difficult person (7:42)
Other recommended resources
This toolkit offers an introduction to compassion training that can be pursued further through the following resources and organisations.
Compassion Matters is an education project from the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion, registered charity no.1164491.