Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Jan 11, 2011

Mind-Body-Spirit News

Stanford University—under the leadership of James Doty, MD, clinical professor of neurosurgery at the university, and with the support of the Dalai Lama—has created The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. The center’s mission is to undertake a rigorous scientific study of the neural, mental and social bases of compassion and altruistic behavior, drawing from a wide spectrum of disciplines, especially neuroscience, psychology, economics and contemplative traditions; and to explore ways in which compassion and altruism can be cultivated within an individual, as well as within society, on the basis of testable cognitive and affective training exercises.

“Compassion,” according to Philipe Goldin, PhD, research scientist at Stanford University, “refers to a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it . . . a quality of mind that embraces the responsibility to care for and act for the benefit of others. An important basis for the cultivation of compassion is the simple and profound insight that we, as individuals, do not exist independently from one another, but rather rely on this interconnectedness and interdependence for our very survival.”

To learn more about the center and its research, go to To hear the Dalai Lama’s talk on compassion given at Stanford University in October 2010, go to

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About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at