Buddhist Life, Community of Loving Kindness at Wellesley College Logo

The Wellesley Buddhist Community welcomes everyone to participate directly in mindfulness and meditation practice and experience the effects in their own lives. We encourage regular practice, openness, kindness and gentleness with ourselves and others to help develop resilience, buoyancy, and a culture of gratitude and loving kindness in the Wellesley Community.

Mindfulness at Wellesley College: Creating A Culture of Loving Kindness

The practice of Mindfulness at Wellesley College is based in the broader context of 2600 years of a Buddhist practice tradition of loving kindness, generosity, gratitude, the interdependence of all life, and compassion for all beings. The basic element of mindfulness is generosity. That we give our greatest gift, our attention, to the present moment, and that we give ourselves to the discipline of training in this practice and developing our capacity to give our full attention to the matter of life together. This begins with awareness of breath and body, awareness of our senses, and slowly opening to the awareness of the interconnection of breath, posture, thoughts, and emotions.

As we practice closely with our breath and body we begin to experience a sense of nourishment, replenishment, buoyancy and resilience. We literally begin to have a feeling for how to be in such a way that we have agency with regard to our well-being. We feel the way to well-being. We may begin to experience a sense of gratitude for the most fleeting experience, sunlight through the trees at a particular moment, a bird call, the smile of a friend. We begin to open to sadness and grief as an aspect of being alive. Developing the capacity to open to our own grief through a shared practice that provides a stable base of experience allows compassion, forgiveness, and loving kindness for ourselves, which brings forth a freedom to be who we are with each other. This freedom and this way of being, compassionate, loving, kind, grateful, generous extends to all of life as we realize all humans suffer as we do, all life struggles. This shared practice-effort and experience becomes a basis for how we can generously live our lives together with all being, extending this awareness through every aspect of our lives. A life, a living, in community and respect for and with all things in our sameness and difference.

For more information, contact College Chaplain and Buddhist Life Coordinator John Bailes.

Chaplains are also available for counseling - Why Talk to a Chaplain?

Office Hours in Billings 310 are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday by appointment.

Weekly Meditation Programs

Mindful Meditations Gatherings are open to all, no experience is necessary. One need not consider oneself a Buddhist to join in.

Meditation Monday

Student Only Meditation Thursday

Monday at 5pm

Thursday at 5pm

Houghton Chapel & Remote

Houghton Chapel


Mindfulness Class for Course Credit PERA/ORSL

In 2017 ORSL developed a pilot five week mindfulness program entitled Mindfulness Survival Skills. The strong student participation and response made it clear that a program which introduced students to everyday mindfulness skills would be beneficial and nourishing to the well-being of individual students and the Wellesley Community.

As a result ORSL and PERA joined together to create a set of two mindfulness courses to offer students each semester. One is a full semester course. The other is a term course, or half semester course, offered in the first and second half of the semester. Students receive PE credit for their participation. Registration has been full with waiting lists every semester since inception.

Each class is designed to explore different techniques of mindfulness in stillness and in motion, standing, sitting, lying down, and moving about. We could say the objective of the class is to develop an awareness of the possibility of a life, in which we establish ourselves in mindful practices that allow us to relax, reduce stress, and nourish our well-being, so that we are able to participate more fully in each activity of our life.

Student response has been positive! They say anxiety has been reduced, sleep has come easier, intrusive thoughts which interfere with our capacity to concentrate have been diminished. In short, a sense of agency in relationship to our states of mind, thoughts, and emotions emerges, an agency which allows for better choices and healthier more fulfilling lives.

For the last five years, our Mindfulness Classes have been and continue to be the "practical instruction" about which William James speaks in his Principles of Psychology (1890): “The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, it is the very root of judgment, character, and will. No one is compos sui if they have it not. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence. But it is easier to define this ideal than to give practical instruction for bringing this about."


Thich Nhat Hanh

I am sad to say that one of the two great pillars of modern Buddhism and friend of Wellesley College has departed our physical world. Thich Nhat Hanh, world renowned Buddhist monk, teacher, and peace activist passed, transformed, as he would have put it, into humus, moisture, air, clouds, and continues as life in other forms. He continues, as he has said in his own words and teaching, in you and me and as you and me in our intention and our attentiveness to mindfulness of body, breath, speech and mind, wonder.

"The kingdom is now or never."

Former President of the College, Diana Chapman-Walsh remembers his visit to the campus on March 10, 2002. "[It was]a sweet and touching day on our campus with Thich Nhat Hanh as he led a retreat for several hundred of his followers, and closed it by painting a calligraphy and presenting it to me with a flourish. “The kingdom is now or never” it said in bold black ink. I had it framed and hung in a prominent spot in my office.There it remained until I left the presidency. Living in its presence, though, became a kind of anchor for me – quiet testimony to ... power of contemplative practice in higher education.

On that day Thich Nhat was the first recipient of the EDUCATION as Transformation Award from Wellesley College.
This is the calligraphy to which she refers.

The calligraphy hangs in the meditation room on the ground floor of Houghton Chapel, in the Multi-Faith Center. I regularly bring it to the attention of our meditation community and use it as a pointer during dharma talks and sharing. Thich Nhat Hanh still inspires us to mindfulness and loving kindness.

(Written for the ORSL March 2022 newsletter by College Chaplain John Bailes)


Buddhist Practice Communities in the Boston Area

Cambridge Zen Center

199 Auburn Street, Central Square, 617.576.3229 (1 block from the "T" walking towards Memorial Drive)

Cambridge Insight Meditation Center

331 Broadway, Central Square, 617.491.5070

Boston Shambhala Center

646 Brookline Avenue, Brookline Village, 617.734.1498

Kurukulla Center

68 Magoun Ave, Medford, 617.624.0177 

Buddhism and Social Justice

Buddhist Peace Fellowship


Lion's Roar: Buddhist Practice Magazine

Tricycle magazine

Practice Supplies



Parallax Press

Wisdom Publications

Shambhala Publications

Dharma Publishing

Online Buddhist Studies and Research Texts

Theravada texts [South and Southeast Asia]

Koan Study [Zen Buddhism]

Buddhist Studies [All Traditions Scholarly]