Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies

Institutional Affiliation

Naropa University
School of Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies, Religious Studies


Ph.D., Religious Studies, Walden University
Ph.D., program, Religious Studies, Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary
M.A., Religious Studies, Florida State University
B.A., History and Religious Studies, Cornell College

Regional and Thematic Interests

South Asia


Judith Simmer-Brown, Ph.D., has been Professor of Religious Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado since 1978. She has practiced Tibetan Buddhism for 40 years and is an Acharya (senior dharma teacher) of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage of Sakyong Mipham, Rinpoche and Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, Naropa's founder. She serves on the steering committee of the American Academy of Religion's Contemplative Studies Group. Dr. Simmer-Brown lectures and writes on Tibetan Buddhism, American Buddhism, women and Buddhism, interreligious dialogue, and contemplative education. Her books are Dakini's Warm Breath:  The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism (Shambhala) and, with Fran Grace, an edited collection of articles called Meditation and the Classroom:  Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies (Religious Studies Series, State University of New York Press, 2010). She is married to Richard Brown, a Naropa University professor, and has two young adult children and three grandchildren.

Selected Publications

2001. With Norman Fischer, Sister Mary Margaret Funk, Joseph Goldstein, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Ven. Yi Fa, Benedict's Dharma: Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of St. Benedict, edited by Patrick Henry. New York: Riverhead.

2001. Ḍākinī's Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism. Boston: Shambhala Publications; paperback edition published December 2002.

Some Materials Recommended for Mindfulness Education: Compiled for the Educating for Gross National Happiness Principals’ Workshops, Paro College of Education, January-February, 2010, authored with Shenphen Zangpo and Jane Carpenter. Thimphu, Bhutan: Ministry of Education, 2010. Mindfulness Meditation Manual, composed and compiled at the request of the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Lyonchhen Jigmi Thinley, and the Ministry of Education, for introduction into every public school in the kingdom, now used as the basis for teacher and student meditation in the classroom.

Meditation and the Classroom: Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies, edited with Fran Grace. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2011. “Introduction;” “Emotional Learning: Re-cognizing Emotion in a Buddhism Course;” and “Training the Heart Responsibly: Ethical Considerations in Contemplative Teaching.”