In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, we hear an interview with Mingyur Rinpoche, a beloved teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. Rinpoche discusses his experiences with panic and how he deals with feelings of anxiety. He talks about how trying to avoid panic actually makes things harder and how meditation techniques have helped him. He tells us how he trained at Sherab Ling Monastery, and how his anxiety affected him there, including when he was on a three-year retreat. Rinpoche shares how he decided that he would see panic as a teacher, and what this meant in his everyday practice. He gives a teaching on the purity of awareness itself, unchanged by whatever is happening within one’s awareness. We hear many other wonderful stories and teachings from Rinpoche, including stories from his four years on wandering retreat, from which he only recently returned—about the people he met, the profound experiences he had, and much more.
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In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, Wisdom author and Tibetan Buddhist scholar Guy Newland speaks profoundly on the experience of grief through a Buddhist lens. Guy published his book A Buddhist Grief Observed with Wisdom in summer 2016. This book reflects his experience after his wife passed away in 2013. In the tradition of C. S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed, Newland offers brave teachings on falling to pieces and then learning to make sense of his pain and grief within his spiritual tradition. In this interview he shares how Buddhist teachings helped him with grief, including in some very unexpected ways. He also reflects on the ways that grief can be so much more intricate than we expect, and how important it is to feel that grief is normal and isn’t supposed to go away immediately.
Drawing inspiration from all corners of the Buddhist world—from Zen stories and the Dalai Lama, to Pema Chödrön and ancient Pali texts—Guy’s story and his insights reverberate with honesty, kindness, and deep humanity. Newland shows us the power of responding fully and authentically to the death of a loved one.
In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, recorded live as a part of the Wisdom Academy course Introduction to Dzogchen, we hear an interview, lecture, and Q&A with Alan Wallace, renowned Tibetan Buddhist scholar and teacher. We hear how Alan’s spiritual path began and what drew him to dzogchen practice in particular. He describes his life in college and how he dropped out to study meditation intensively. He traveled to India where he met many great teachers, including the Dalai Lama, who became his root guru. He tells us about the years he spent in intensive meditation retreat and explains why he feels that he was “born at age 20.” After spending time in India he returned to college at Amherst and began studying physics under the guidance of Arthur Zajonc. Alan also tells us what drew him to shamatha practice and relays a teaching on how shamatha supports the development of bodhicitta. He tells of the pivotal experience he had while on a retreat with S. N. Goenka and reflects on why shamatha is so important across Buddhist traditions. Alan then tells the story of how the Buddha slipped into a state of mindfulness when he was only a child and comments on what this meant. Alan then gives an illuminating talk about dzogchen practice, touching on the conversation currently happening between science and Buddhism. He also teaches on the essential nature of the mind and how to truly and wisely observe the mind and naturally discover awareness. Finally, the Q&A with the live audience provides even more rich, eye-opening, and immediately applicable teachings to help you along the Buddhist path.
This week on the Wisdom podcast we spoke with Sharon Salzberg, a renowned figure in the American Buddhist and mindfulness community. Sharon first encountered Buddhism in college, where the Buddha’s teaching of suffering spoke deeply to her and led her to begin her Buddhist path. About to leave for India to further explore Buddhism, she encountered Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and he gave her some advice for her journey.
In India, she went on her first meditation retreat: one of the historic ten-day retreats with S.N. Goenka. It was on this retreat that she met Joseph Goldstein and Ram Dass. She describes the exciting and meaningful experience of being on that retreat, and the impact it had on her. One of the most influential parts of the retreat was Goenka’s emphasis on equanimity.
Sharon reflects on faith as a part of Buddhist practice, and the importance of having an intelligent faith in one’s teacher. She also shares her thoughts on the wisdom of doubt, and doubt as an integral part of faith. She also shares what was the most inspiring to her as she was practicing in India in those early days, including knowing the teacher Dipa Ma.
After coming back to the U.S., Sharon started teaching with Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, and together they founded the Insight Meditation Society. She tells us what it was like to be 23 years old and founding the one of the first major vipassana meditation centers in the United States. She reflects on similarities and differences between people who came to IMS when it started in the 1970s and people coming today. She also shares her thoughts on the way that science and meditation practices are now coming together to provide new insight into the human experience.
In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, we meet Tibetan Buddhist teacher and translator Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche, Great Abbot of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He tells us about the region where he was born in Tibet in 1946, what Tibet was like at that time, and his memories of fleeing from the country soon after the Dalai Lama left. We hear about the time he spent as a young man in India studying Buddhist philosophy and other subjects at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, and he tells us about his first trips to Bodhgaya. He also reflects on his experience studying with Khunu Lama Rinpoche, focusing on two classic works by Gampopa: The Jewel Ornament of Liberation and The Precious Garland of the Excellent Path. After more than nine years of studying, in 1978 Rinpoche went into a three-year retreat under the guidance of the master Khyunga Rinpoche. He describes the conditions of this retreat in the mountains of Ladakh and goes on to reflect on the importance of balancing study and practice. Rinpoche then teaches us about the Drikung Kagyu lineage, sharing stories about its origin from masters like Gampopa, Milarepa, and founder Jigten Sumgon.