John Makransky

Senior Academic Advisor

Email: john.makransky@bc.edu


Profile

John Makransky, PhD, has been Associate Professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology at Boston College, Senior Academic Advisor for Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche’s Centre of Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Nepal, president of the Society of Buddhist-Christian studies, and Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute.

John’s academic writings focus on connections between devotion, compassion, and wisdom in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, on adapting Buddhist practices to meet contemporary minds, and on theoretical issues in interfaith learning. In the 1990s, John was one of the leaders of a scholarly movement in the American Academy of Religion to establish a unit dedicated to Buddhist Critical-Constructive Reflection (“Buddhist Theology”). John has also developed the Sustainable Compassion Training model of contemplative practice (SCT) to help modern Buddhists, people of diverse faiths, and those in caring roles and professions generate a more sustaining, inclusive and unconditional power of compassion and awareness to support their lives and work (https://sustainablecompassion.org). 

Select publications

Books

Buddhahood Embodied: Sources of Controversy in India and Tibet (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997).  Historical and critical text analysis of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist Perfection of Wisdom literature as basis for Buddhist reflection on the nature of Buddhahood—the kinds of awareness, qualities and activities that constitute enlightenment as understood in diverse Indo-Tibetan traditions. 

Buddhist Theology: Critical Reflections by Contemporary Buddhist Scholars (Routledge-Curzon: Critical Studies in Buddhism, 2000), co-edited with Roger Jackson.  Anthology of articles by scholars trained in Buddhist traditions, to explore what Buddhism can learn from modern academic findings and what the modern world can learn from Buddhism.   

Awakening Through Love — Unveiling Your Deepest Goodness (Boston: Wisdom Publications 2007).  Seeks to make newly accessible the principles and practices of devotion, love, compassion and wisdom from Tibetan Buddhism for modern Buddhists, deep inter-faith learning, and for people in caring roles and professions.  

Articles and Chapters: 

“Compassion in Buddhist Psychology” in Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapyed. by Christopher Germer and Ronald Siegel (New York: Guilford Press, 2012), 61-75.

“Buddhist Constructive Reflection Past and Present: Recurrent Reinterpretation in Meeting New Cultural Needs and Challenges,” Open Access, to be published by the European Academy of Religion in 2024.  

“Compassion and Skillful Means: Cultural Adaptation, Psychological Science, and Creative Responsiveness.” Co-authored with Paul Condon. Mindfulness Journal, March 2022. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-022-01866-y 

“Synergies of Devotion, Compassion and Wisdom in Śāntideva for Buddhists and Christians.” Buddhist-Christian Studies Journal Vol. 41, November 2021, pp. 169-176. 

“Sustainable Compassion Training: Integrating Meditation Theory with Psychological Science,” co-authored with Paul Condon. Frontiers in Psychology 11, September 2020. | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.02249 

“Contrasting Tsongkhapa and Longchenpa:  Buddhist Diversity, Fractal Theory and Comparative Theology,” in New Paths for Interreligious Theology: Perry Schmidt-Leukel’s Fractal Interpretation of Religious Diversity, ed. by Allan Race and Paul Knitter (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2019).   

 “How Buddhist and Christian Liberation Epistemologies Should Inform and Correct Each Other,Buddhist-Christian Studies Journal, Vol. 39, November 2019.

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