The Wisdom Podcast

Koshin Paley Ellison: Zen and the Art of Caregiving

Koshin Paley Ellison

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, we meet Koshin Paley Ellison, innovative cofounder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care and coeditor of Wisdom’s recently published book, Awake at the Bedside. Koshin tells us about how he was drawn both to Zen practice and caring for the dying early in life and how the AIDS epidemic, beat poets, and Zen teacher John Daido Loori had an impact on him. He shares with us moving stories of how he cared for his grandmother Mimi at the end of her life and how this relationship helped him to deeply integrate his Buddhist practice into his life. Koshin relates to us how facing our fears can help us respond to others more compassionately and how letting go of our clinging can open up new ways of being. We also learn how for Koshin, study, meditation practice, and caregiving are intimately connected to each other.

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H.E. the 7th Ling Rinpoche: The Training of a Tulku

Ling Rinpoche

This week on the Wisdom Podcast we were honored to feature H.E. the 7th Ling Rinpoche. Rinpoche tells us about the history of the Ling Rinpoche lineage and about his relationship with H.H. the Dalai Lama, including the special qualities of the Dalai Lama. Rinpoche then tells us about what tulkus are, explaining their important role in Tibetan Buddhism. He tells us what it has been like to hold this honored title as a Ling Rinpoche, explaining the advantages and disadvantages. He then explains what a geshe degree is and describes a day in the life of a monk living at the monastery. Rinpoche also tells us about some of his favorite texts and explains what madhyamaka is. He also shares his thoughts about the importance of Tsongkhapa’s teachings and discusses the steps we can take to free ourselves from suffering, and the importance of studying emptiness in dispelling delusions. Rinpoche shares his experiences of traveling in the West and the differences he’s noticed between dharma in the U.S. and dharma in India. We also learn from Rinpoche about the three principles of the path, and much more, in this episode.

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Bhikkhu Analayo: The Satipatthana Sutta

This week on the Wisdom Podcast you’ll have the chance to learn about Theravada Buddhism from one of its finest scholar-monks, Bhikkhu Analayo. Bhikkhu Analayo discusses the role of mindfulness in early Buddhist texts, specifically the Satipatthana Sutta, and then explains some important etymological points regarding the word “satipatthana.” He talks about how Pali became one of the early languages of Buddhism and provides some pointers for doing comparative study of the Satipatthana Sutta. He also reflects on how it is important to not reject certain Buddhist teachings just because they were not originally taught by the Buddha himself. Bhikkhu Analayo then explains what the true meaning of the “direct path” to awakening means and how to understand the various types of mindfulness. He also discusses the role that mindfulness plays in the path to liberation, the relationship between mindfulness practice and breathing practice, the continuity between the four satipatthanas, the importance of body contemplation practice, and much more.

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Jay Garfield: Engaging Buddhist Philosophy

This week on the Wisdom Podcast, meet Jay Garfield, one of the country’s most well-known scholars of Buddhism and a professor at Smith, Harvard, and other universities. We hear how Jay came to Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, initially studying with Robert Thurman, and then spent time in India as he became more serious about his Buddhist studies. Jay explains the common misconceptions that cause some academics to be prejudiced against Buddhist philosophy and also explains some fundamental differences between Western and Buddhist philosophy. Jay also explains how many aspects of Western philosophy, such as free will and metaphysical necessity, need to be problematized instead of remaining our unquestioned, theologically-influenced heritage. Jay also discusses the difference between Western and Buddhist ethics. He then tells us about the huge response he received to a recent article he wrote for the New York Times, “If Philosophy Won’t Diversify, Let’s Call It What It Really Is,” which addresses the racism that is influencing the way philosophy is taught in American universities. Listen to the interview to hear him discuss many other fascinating topics, including the intricacies of translation.

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Dan Harris: 10% Happier


In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, we spoke with Dan Harris, the ABC News anchor who discovered the power of meditation after he experienced a panic attack on live national television. He first tells us about what it’s like to be a Buddhist among skeptics. He then shares how he discovered Buddhism after he had spent time reporting in war zones and using drugs–experiences that led to his panic attack. We also hear the specific reasons that he thinks meditation is so helpful in our modern everyday lives. Dan then tells us about his current understanding of panic disorder, and how he deals with anxiety today. We then hear about his own practice, including what it is like being a student of insight teacher Joseph Goldstein and how he manages to fit meditation into his busy life. We also hear who, out of all the renowned spiritual people he has met, has impressed him the most. Dan then gives us his understanding of what awakening is and shares what motivates him to practice. He also tells us why for him Buddhism is not a religion. Dan then relates to us his thoughts regarding the Buddhist teachings of non-self and emptiness, and why he thinks non-self is an important and useful concept.

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