The Dispute Resolution Program at the Program on Negotiation (PON) hosted a workshop on “Buddhism & Dialogue” on November 7, at Harvard Law School. The workshop was organized by Ran Kuttner, visiting scholar at PON, and Michael Wheeler LL.M. ’74, MBA Class of 1952 Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School and co-director of PON’s Dispute Resolution Program.
The workshop explored dialogic interaction as a form of practice to help the participants in mediation and negotiation cultivate concentration and wisdom, and overcome the suffering caused by the conflict, as understood in the Buddhist philosophy and psychology. A panel of four presenters shared their views of how interpersonal dialogue can be perceived and practiced as a form of meditation. It was followed by a roundtable discussion with prominent mediation and negotiation scholars and practitioners, who also practice Buddhist meditation, on the possible implications of the panelists’ thoughts for the practice of mediation and negotiation.
Zen Master (Roshi) Bernie Glassman (Ph.D.), a world-renowned pioneer in the American Zen Movement and the founder and co-spiritual director of the Zen Peacemakers. He also teaches this semester a course on “Buddhist Arts of Ministry in the Zen Peacemakers Order” at Harvard Divinity School.
Gregory Kramer (Ph.D.), who has taught Vipassana meditation and lovingkindness practice since 1980, founded the Metta-Foundation, and created the interpersonal practice of Insight Dialogue, which he teaches internationally.
Janet Surrey (Ph.D.), a clinical psychologist, Lecturer in Psychology at Harvard Medical School and the Founding Scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, who synthesizes in her work and writing Buddhist and Relational psychology.
Ran Kuttner, a mediation scholar who recently completed his Ph.D. dissertation on the integration of Buddhist philosophy and dialogue in mediation.
The roundtable included Wheeler, Leonard L. Riskin who until recently served at the University of Missouri as Director of the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution and Professor of Law and who taught both dispute resolution and mindfulness around the world for many years; David Hoffman, a mediator, arbitrator, and attorney, the founder of Boston Law Collaborative and this year the teacher of the Mediation course at Harvard Law School; Rachel Wohl, a mediator and attorney, the founding Executive Director of Maryland’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office, and co-teacher of seminars on Mindfulness for Dispute Resolvers; Jack Himmelstein, the co-founder and co-director (with Gary Friedman) of The Center for Mediation in Law, a national non-profit educational institute, previously a clinical professor at Columbia Law School for many years, who lead meditation retreats for lawyers have also been incorporating meditative consciousness into his writing and training. Riskin and Himmelstein participated in the roundtable via phone conversation.
Conference pre-readings can be found here.