Mission & Values

A renowned Tibetan Buddhist, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, founded Naropa University in 1974. His vision was to take the very best elements of western scholarship and combine them with an emphasis on eastern wisdom tradition to reinvent education in the United States.

Eastern Wisdom and Buddhism is expressed at Naropa today as Contemplative Education. Contemplative Education combines three educational pedagogies—Traditional Academics, Experiential Learning, and Contemplative Practice—to form a unique and innovative approach to higher education that truly does take the best of western scholarship with the best of eastern wisdom.

The two "western" pedagogies; Traditional Academics and Experiential Learning, as well as the more traditionally eastern pedagogy of Contemplation Practice are expressed as the "three areas of inquiry," which are, in turn, rooted in the Three Prajnas of Buddhism, or the three ways of knowing: study, reflection, and meditation.

The fields of study we offer reflect this combination of East and West and are an expression of our mission and values. Our focus is on psychology, education, leadership, religious studies and the arts. Naropa is committed to inspiring students to engage courageously with a complex and challenging world and innovate, lead, create and serve.