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2006 Active Compassion Conference: Exploring the Shambhala Path of Social Engagement
with Fleet Maull and Jann Jackson
Febuary 10-12, 2006

As activists and socially engaged people, we often find ourselves either taking sides or struggling with trying to remain open and unbiased in situations of polarized conflict, not sure how to be effective and in danger of losing heart and burning out. The timeless, contemplative wisdom of the Shambhala teachings offers a path and skillful means for engaging our world fearlessly from a ground of gentleness and non-aggression. Making friends with and overcoming our own aggression, doubt, hesitation, and fear, we are able to hold a space for others to do likewise, creating possibilities for genuine meetings of heart and mind within the context of a mutual recognition of basic goodness.

The Shambhala teachings speak of a tradition of fearless and gentle warriors who arm themselves only with mindfulness, vulnerability, and open hearts. As practitioners of meditation and contemplative disciplines, the warrior's way is to train in becoming ever more adept and inclusive about meeting and helping others with skillfulness and compassion. These teachings point out a method of engaging with great skill and heart in even highly antagonistic situations.

This weekend program will consist of meditation practice and community-based experiential learning. We will explore together a context for social action grounded in the Shambhala teachings and practice contemplative social action and peacemaking skills, such as deep listening, appreciative inquiry, nonviolent communication and the way of council.


Fleet Maull

Fleet Maull, M.A., Ph.D. candidate, is a senior student of the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and a meditation teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist Community. He is also a senior student of Roshi Bernie Glassman and a dharma holder and ordained priest in the Zen Peacemaker Community and Soto Zen lineage. Fleet currently studies with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Roshi Bernie Glassman, as well as other Tibetan Buddhist teachers.

He is also a holder of the Way of Council and a certified trainer with the Center for Council Training, HeartSteam Education and New Line Consulting. Fleet is the founder and director of Prison Dharma Network, National Prison Hospice Association and the Colorado Peacemaker Institute. He is adjunct faculty at Naropa University where he teaches extensively in the areas of engaged spirituality and contemplative and integral approaches to social action, peacemaking, and political engagement. He is also the founder and director of the Center for Contemplative End of Life Care Programs at Naropa University’s School for Professional Development.

Fleet leads meditation retreats and activist trainings throughout the United States and Europe, where he also visits prisons and jails doing transformational work with both prisoners and prison staff. He is also a consultant and trainer leading transformational change initiatives in nonprofit and for-profit organizations. He is a frequent presenter at conferences on prison work, end of life care, activism and engaged spirituality; and his peacemaking activities range from the streets of U.S. cities, to former concentration camps in Poland, to Israel-Palestine. Fleet is the author of the recently released book, Dharma in Hell, the Prison Writings of Fleet Maull.

Fleet Maull's talks addressed:

1 How we are all interconnected and the discovery of Basic Goodness.

2. How to keep an open heart and not shut down.

3. How to move forward in the midst of obstacles, how to bring the experience of Basic Goodness into our work.


Jann Jackson

Since 1995, Jann has worked as the Executive Director of Advocates for Children and Youth. Prior to that, she worked for 14 years as the Associate Director of The House of Ruth. She has been at the forefront of groundbreaking developments in both arenas. Whether through direct social services, legislative initiatives, developing and presenting professional trainings or raising public awareness through education she has been a leader in bringing genuine systemic change. She is recognized locally and nationally for her outstanding contributions and continuing commitment to creating a truly just society.

Jann has been a teacher of buddhist studies and meditation since 1978 and has taught Shambhala Training since 1985. She was the Resident Director of Shambhala Training in Baltimore from 1985-1990. In 2002, the Baltimore Shambhala community requested Jann to serve as the Dean of the Shambhala Training Sacred Path program in Baltimore.

Jann began her Buddhist studies with Tibetan meditation master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1975. She is also a student of the Sakyong, Mipham Rinpoche and for the last ten years has studied very closely with the beloved female teacher, the Venerable Khandro Rinpoche.



Friday, Feb 10

7 pm - 8 pm: Registration
8 pm - 10 pm: First Talk

Saturday, Feb 11
8 am - 9 pm: Registration
9 am -12 pm: Meditation, Contemplation Instruction and Practice
12 pm -1 pm: Lunch
1 pm - 3:30 pm: Deep Listening and Appreciative Inquiry Instruction and Exercise
3:30 pm - 4 pm: Tea and Snacks
4 pm - 6 pm: Talk II

Sunday, Feb 12
9 am -12 pm: Meditation, Contemplation and the way of Council Practice
12 pm -1 pm: Lunch
1 pm - 3:30 pm: Break Out Groups Focusing on Bringing Tools into Action
3:30 pm - 4 pm: Chai and Snacks
4 pm - 6 pm: Talk III


Weekend Program

This weekend program will consist of meditation practice and community-based experiential learning. We will explore together a context for social action grounded in the Shambhala teachings and practice contemplative social action and peacemaking skills, such as deep listening, appreciative inquiry, nonviolent communication and the way of council.

The main practice will comprise of :

  • Deep listening is a method of exploring how we develop barriers to communicate, and how we can disengage those barriers in order to begin to communicate more deeply. Another name for this is Focusing, or Compassionate listening
  • Appreciative inquiry is the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system's capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential. It centrally involves the mobilization of inquiry through the crafting of the "unconditional positive question".
  • Council practice is a method for groups to begin to communicate with each other in an open, safe, and trusting way. It has four main intentions: Speak from the heart, listen from the heart, be spontaneous, and be brief. This is based on the councils of elders in many Native American traditions.
  • Contemplation uses a word or phrase to be the object of meditation. When meditating on the word or phrase, one has experiences and insights that lead to new understandings.
  • Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is sometimes referred to as compassionate communication. Its purpose is to strengthen our ability to inspire compassion from others and to respond compassionately to others and to ourselves. NVC guides us to reframe how we express ourselves and hear others by focusing our consciousness on what we are observing, feeling, needing, and requesting as developed by Marshall Rosenberg.
  • Meditation is used to help us be in the present moment. Using the breath as the object of meditation, we can begin to be more present and not worry about the future or reviewing the past. Being in the present moment allows us to see what response is really needed in any situation. Listen more about Meditation