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Lama Thubten Yeshe was born in 1935 into a simple farming family in central Tibet. He was both a scholar of traditional Buddhist texts and a radical free-thinker, with a passion for sharing the essence of what he had learned and experienced with the wider world. In 1974 he became one of the first Tibetan Buddhist masters to travel abroad, along with his devoted student and companion Lama Zopa.
Lama Yeshe soon became deeply critical of the modern approach to education, saying that it often misses the most important point: to inspire people about their potential, and to encourage the lifelong development of a warm heart and a smart, enquiring mind. Instead, he envisioned 'a new kind of education' that would present the profound wisdom of all religions in a way that transcends individual countries, philosophies and religions, and which contains both scientific and spiritual dimensions without compromising either; an education in techniques to bring out the inherent compassion and wisdom that lies in the heart of every living being.
This is what we mean by Universal Education for Compassion and Wisdom. It is a system of inner development that aims to create a more peaceful world by enabling people of all ages, cultures and traditions to lead a happy and meaningful life and to be of service to others.
Universal Education for Compassion and Wisdom is grounded in Buddhist philosophy, psychology and science and is presented using contemporary language and methods. It is:
Universal: suitable for people of all ages and cultures, and of any faith or none
Practical: immediately applicable to everyday life, from birth up until death
Appreciative: celebrating the unique potential of every individual
Non-dogmatic: encouraging critical enquiry and direct experience
Integrated: promoting learning methods that bring together both head and heart
Lama Yeshe passed away in 1984. In 2005 the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom was set up to take his vision forward.
"I believe that at every level of society, the key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not need to become religious, nor do we need to believe in an ideology. All that is necessary is for each of us to develop our good human qualities."
- The Dalai Lama (Patron)
"The reason there are so many problems in the world is that the most important education is missing: how to develop a good heart, understand the nature and potential of the mind, and comprehend how we are each responsible for the whole world, creatures as well as humans. The aim of Universal Education for Compassion and Wisdom is to provide this education."
- Lama Zopa (Honorary President)