headshot of John Makransky


John Makransky combines an academic career as a professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology at Boston College with his role as a Tibetan Buddhist meditation teacher. Since 1978 John has practiced meditations of compassion and wisdom from Tibetan traditions and in recent years has introduced new ways of bringing them into the worlds of service and social justice by making them newly accessible to people of all backgrounds and faiths. He has also helped Western Buddhists deepen their contemplative experience of awareness and loving compassion.

John has studied and practiced Tibetan Buddhism since 1978 under the guidance of Tibetan lamas and scholars in the Nyingma, Kagyu, and Gelug traditions. In 2000 he was installed as a lama in the lineage of his first root teacher, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche, by Lama Surya Das. In the following years, he met his other root teachers, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. John now serves as a senior faculty advisor and lecturer for Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche's Centre for Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Bodhanath, Nepal.

John is presently the guiding meditation teacher of the Foundation for Active Compassion, which provides meditation workshops and retreats not only in Buddhist contemplative settings but also in interfaith and secular settings for social justice activists, social workers, counselors, teachers, therapists, and health care and other helping professionals. These workshops are sponsored by diverse organizations, such as Boston College’s Graduate Schools of Social Work and of Theology and Ministry, Union Theological Seminary, the Institute of Meditation and Psychotherapy, Contemplative Mind in Society, Natural Dharma Fellowship, and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. John recently published a book of contemplative practices and teachings to empower people in relationships, work, service and social action entitled Awakening Through Love: Unveiling Your Deepest Goodness (Wisdom Publications, 2007).

John is also author of Buddhahood Embodied: Sources of Controversy in India and Tibet, coeditor of Buddhist Theology: Critical Reflections by Contemporary Buddhist Scholars, and the author of many articles and essays. Within the American Academy of Religion (AAR), John is co-chair of the Buddhist Critical Reflection Group and instructor for the AAR’s Summer Seminars on Religious Pluralism and Comparative Theology. In addition, John is senior faculty advisor and lecturer for Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche's Centre for Buddhist Studies in Nepal, affiliated with Kathmandu University and Rangjung Yeshe Institute. He lives outside of Boston with his wife, two sons, and dog.