The Wisdom Podcast

The Wisdom Podcast is a Buddhist podcast that features interviews with leading thinkers from the Buddhist world. Each episode takes you on a fascinating exploration of Buddhism and meditation as our guests share stories and discuss life-changing practices, timeless philosophies, and new ways to think and live. Recent episodes have featured guests like His Holiness the Karmapa, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Robert Thurman, and Jeffrey Hopkins. Please remember to give us a rating, and follow us at Twitter and Facebook. Thank you for listening!

Latest Episode

Marcus Perman: Translation and Transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in the West

In advance of the Tsadra Foundation’s Translation and Transmission Conference we spoke with Marcus Perman, Director of Research for Tsadra, an organization dedicated to advancing the combined study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Marcus tells us about how he came to his role after studying Eastern and Western philosophy, traveling in Tibet and the Himalayas, and attending an early translator’s conference as an aspiring translator. He shares with us Tsadra’s unique role in applying strategic philanthropy to the Tibetan Buddhist community sponsoring scholars, meditators, and translators of all schools, and how this has had an impact on the transmission of Dharma in the West.

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Ross Bolleter: The Intimacy of Zen Koan Practice

Discover one man’s experience of integrating Zen teachings into everyday life through decades of koan practice. In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast we meet Ross Bolleter Roshi, Zen author and teacher in the Diamond Sangha lineage. Ross shares with us stories from his many years of practice and study, beginning with how he met and became a student of Robert Aitken in the early 1980s. We hear how Aitken gave Ross his first koan to practice and eventually, together with John Tarrant, gave him transmission. Ross also discusses the relationship between koan practice and kenshō, and he shares how koan practice can transform one’s life over many years. Finally, we hear about his forthcoming book on Western koans, Crow Flies Backwards.

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Harold Talbott: Remembering Thomas Merton’s Encounters with the Dalai Lama

Hear about one man’s powerful encounters with Dzogchen masters and his memories of facilitating the famous meeting of Thomas Merton with the Dalai Lama and other notable Tibetan lamas. In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast we meet Harold Talbott, long-time Dharma practitioner and editor for esteemed teacher Tulku Thondup. Harold tells us his fascinating journey in the Dharma, including how he initially met the Dalai Lama in India in the mid 1960s and became his student. He also shares with us many of his extraordinary encounters with Tibetan Buddhist teachers over the decades like Chatral Rinpoche, Dodrupchen Rinpoche, and Tulku Thondup Rinpoche. Harold then tells us how he came to facilitate the meeting of famed Catholic theologian and writer Thomas Merton with the Dalai Lama in 1968, and then accompanied Merton throughout his trip to India meeting several accomplished Tibetan lamas during the final weeks of his life.

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Andy Rotman: The Divine Stories of Early Buddhism

Discover the powerful teachings on philosophy and faith woven into the classical stories of early Buddhism. In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast we meet Andy Rotman, professor of religion and Buddhist studies at Smith College and chief editor for Wisdom’s Classics of Indian Buddhism series. An expert in the field of Buddhist literature, Andy shares with us the important role of narratives in monastic and lay life in South Asia, and how they were used to cultivate wisdom and compassion. We also hear some of Andy’s favorite tales from his translations of Divine Stories (Divyāvadāna), one of the most important collections of ancient Buddhist narratives. Find out what to expect in the upcoming second volume of his translations—Divine Stories, Part 2—forthcoming in the fall of 2017.

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Leonard van der Kuijp: Discovering Tibet with a Leading Scholar

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast we meet Leonard van der Kuijp, professor of Tibetan and Himalayan studies at Harvard University. A preeminent scholar in the field of Tibetan philosophy and translation, Leonard shares with us how he began his studies and what it was like being a student of the pioneer philosopher and translator Herbert Guenther. He also dives into fascinating stories that explore the intellectual and cultural history of Tibet, recounting tales of the Indian scholar Śākyaśrībhadra’s journey to Tibet in the thirteenth century. Leonard’s amusing and vivid stories tell us more about the spread of Buddhism in Tibet and shed a humanizing light on this important and defining time in Tibet’s past.

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