Kristina Mah, Lian Loke, and Luke Hespanhol. 2020. Understanding Compassion Cultivation for Design: Towards an Autoethnography of Tonglen. In 32nd Australian Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (OzCHI '20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 748–754. DOI:
Compassion is a concept related to ethics and wellbeing and is an area of emerging interest in human-computer interaction. There are examples applying philosophy or the science of compassion to interaction design solutions, however, design for compassion has not been explored through a fIrst-person approach. This late-breaking work presents our self-observation study of Tonglen, a Buddhist compassion cultivation technique. Our paper illustrates the authentic lived experience of compassion cultivation contributing to a growing body of fIrst-person research in HCI. Our fIndings reveal the complexity of the contemplative practice of Tonglen, where thoughts, feelings and sensations embodying connection and acceptance arise. These are expressed and documented as metaphors of experiential qualities within the process. This initial study emphasises how deliberate fIrst-person engagement and systematic self-enquiry can be used to explore contemplative and cultivation practices developing a richer lexicon for design researchers to navigate and practice more meaningfully in this area.
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