Contemplative Studies Initiative and Concentration

Contemplative Studies Spring Events

Virtual Contemplative Mentors in Residence Program and Lectures, Workshops and Concerts

Spring Virtual Contemplative Mentors in Residence Program

The Brown University Virtual Contemplative Mentors in Residence Program will make tradition-based contemplative practices available to students and faculty at Brown University and several affiliated institutions.

Our Contemplative Mentors in Residence are all skilled practitioners in their respective traditions and also PhD-level scholars who have extensive experience teaching at institutions of higher education in Asia, North America and Europe.  These practitioner-scholars are familiar with the Liberal Arts values typical of higher education and are thus able to suit their teaching to the academic environment. Too often contemplative practices, if they are taught at all in higher education, are deracinated versions removed from their cultural origins. Each of our Contemplative Mentors has extensive training in both the contexts and the methods of the practices they will be leading.

The Schedule

Our mentors will teach weekly in the noon hour Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for 12 weeks during each term of the upcoming academic year. The Spring Sessions start the week of February 6th 2023.

  • Mondays: Thai Śamatha (Concentrative) Meditation: Sarah Shaw
  • Wednesdays: Chinese Qigong Moving Meditation: Larson DiFiori
  • Fridays: Japanese Rinzai Zen Meditation: Masaki Matsubara

If you are interested in seeing what it's like to develop a consistent contemplative practice, we strongly recommend -- but do not require -- that you sign up for the entire 12-week period this semester. People are welcome to "shop" the first sessions the week of February 6th and then decide. Casual participation is also possible but not recommended. Send your decision to with "Virtual Contemplative Mentors" in the subject line. Students in courses who are assigned to specific weeks of Contemplative Practice Sessions do not need to do this.

Lectures, Workshops and Concerts

February 9, 2023 ~ 7 - 8:30 pm
LectureDaoist Medicine by Josh Paynter, L.Ac.
Virtual Event - Register

February 12, 2023 ~ noon - 6 pm
Workshop:  Daoist Cultivation Methods by Master Master Zhou Xuanyun
Brown/RISD Hillel, Goldfarb Family Social Room

February 24, 2023 - 5:30 - 7 pm
Lecture:  The Self in Different Cultures and Times:  How Can the Different Notions of Self Help You to Live? by Rev. Takafumi Kawakami
Friedman Hall, Rm. 208

February 25, 2023 - 10 am - 4 pm
Workshop:  Practical Explorations of Various Notions of the Self with Rev. Takafumi Kawakami
Brown/RISD Hillel, Winnick Chapel 

March 13, 2023 - 5:30 - 7 pm
Lecture:   The Power of Ceremony:  Indigenous Contemplative Practices, Neurodecolonization and Indigenous Mindfulness
by Prof. Michael Yellow Bird, Ph.D.
Smith Buonanno, Rm. 106

Abstract: In this presentation, Dr. Michael Yellow Bird will discuss colonization, decolonization, and  neurodecolonization, and their role in Indigenous Peoples health. He will share how he uses western science to suggest what is happening to the chronically stressed, traumatized colonized mind and body of Indigenous Peoples. He discusses some traditional Indigenous contemplative practices and what’s happening in the brain and body according to western science and how Indigenous contemplative practices create resilient coping in the brain and body.

March 14, 2023 - 9 am - noon
Workshop:  A Workshop on Indigenous Mindfulness
by Prof. Michael Yellow Bird, Ph.D.
Brown/RISD Hillel, Goldfarb Family Social Hall

March 19, 2023 - noon - 5 pm
Workshop:  Mindfulness and What Happens Next . . . . A Practical Workshop on Developing Mindfulness and the Factors of Awakening
by Dr. Sarah Shaw
Brown/RISD Hillel, Winnick Chapel

March 20, 2023 - 5:30 - 7 pm
XXth Annual Mary Interlandi '05 Memorial Lecture:  What Happens After Mindfulness?
by Dr. Sarah Shaw
Smith Buonanno, Rm. 106

April 11, 2023 - 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Contemplative Studies Spring Open House
Horace Mann, Rms. 102 and 103

April 17, 2023 - 5:30 - 7 pm
Lecture:  Buddhist Chanting as Contemplative Practice:  Deep Listening, Deep Hearing
by Professor Mark Unno
Friedman Auditorium, Metcalf Research Building

April 21, 2023 - 5:30 - 7 pm
Lecture:  Rinzai Zen Practice in Contemporary Japan: Teachings Behind the Practice
by Rev./Dr. Masaki Matsubara
Friedman Hall, Rm. 208

April 22, 2023 - 10 am - 4 pm
Workshop:  Zazenkai
by Rev./Dr. Masaki Matsubara
Pembroke Hall, Rm. 305