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

H. H. Karmapa: Vegetarianism, Online Education and Nuns’ Ordination

Since this is our official 75th episode of the Wisdom Podcast, we thought we would rebroadcast our very first episode in commemoration of this meaningful milestone here at Wisdom. For this special conversation, host Daniel Aitken traveled to Dharamsala, India, to meet with His Holiness the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, leader of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness talks about the efficacy of listening to Dharma classes, receiving empowerments, and taking ordination vows online, touching on the differences between Tibetan and traditional Western education and how each benefits from dialogue with the other. He further shares some thoughts on how Western Dharma centers could be improved; he talks about vegetarianism, including anecdotes from his own and his previous emanations’ experiences with vegetarianism; and he discusses his recent involvement planning to re-establish the tradition of full ordination for Tibetan Buddhist nuns.

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Graham Coleman: Preserving Tibetan Culture in the Digital Age

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken speaks with Graham Coleman, editor and critically acclaimed filmmaker in the Tibetan Buddhist world. In this lively conversation, Graham shares fascinating stories from the making of his feature-length documentary, Tibet: A Buddhist Trilogy. An invaluable exploration of the sacred in Tibetan Buddhist culture, this extraordinary film includes rare and historic footage shot in Dharamsala, Ladakh, and Bouda, Nepal. Graham also shares what it was like working closely with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, H. H. the Sakya Trichen, H. H. Dudjom Rinpoche, and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche among many others as part of his film. Additionally, Graham is the founder of Gompa Tibetan Monastery Services, a new online platform bringing together teachings and practices from multiple Tibetan monasteries and nunneries throughout India and Nepal. Graham also discusses his multiple online resources for the preservation of Tibetan culture, including the Classical Tibetan Knowledge Archive and Multimedia Study Resource, which includes thousands of hours of oral commentaries, video and audio documentation of ritual arts, and texts and images.


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Narayan Helen Liebenson: The Immediacy of Freedom

On this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken speaks with Narayan Helen Liebenson, revered meditation teacher and author of The Magnanimous Heart, published by Wisdom. Narayan is a guiding teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, as well as the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center where she has taught since its inception in 1985. Her training over the past forty years includes study and practice with meditation masters in the Theravada, Zen, and Tibetan traditions. In this truly fascinating conversation, Narayan shares the intricacies of her development as a meditator over the course of her lifetime. She talks about her method of integrating multiple styles of meditation and how she prefers meditation as a creative exploration rather than a mere adherence to discipline. Narayan also shares her experiences with both faith and doubt, and the deeper sense of inner dignity she has encountered as a result of her practice.

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Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche: Prioritizing Aspirations Along the Path

On this special Losar episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken travels to Kathmandu to speak with Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, world-renowned teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and founder of the Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Nepal. In this special teaching, Rinpoche shares his past life memories and talks about his own experiences with the continuity of consciousness. He then speaks about consciousness itself as well as delusion—how we perceive what is not real as real, what is unclean as clean, and what is impermanent as permanent. Rinpoche teaches how to properly prioritize our aspirations along the path and the wisdom of placing virtue and wholesome living before the realization of the nature of mind. He teaches on the building of a proper foundation and how compassion and loving-kindness are essential ingredients to the highest of practices.

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Alejandro Chaoul: The Bön Tradition and the Art of Tibetan Yoga

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken speaks with Alejandro Chaoul, scholar and practitioner in the Bön tradition of Tibet and teacher of tsa lung trul khor, the art of Tibetan yantra yoga. In Tibetan, tsa lung means “channels and winds” while trul khor translates as “magical movements.” Alejandro is a professor at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he researches Tibetan mind-body techniques for cancer patients. In this fascinating conversation, you’ll hear Alejandro share his lifelong spiritual journey—from studying with Hindu masters in India, to practicing Dzogchen with Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche and Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. Alejandro talks about what initially drew him to the Bön tradition, and how his primary teachers, H. E. Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche and Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, have profoundly shaped his life and career. Alejandro also shares insights on what distinguishes Bön from other Tibetan traditions, as well as the differences between Tibetan yoga and Indian yogic traditions.

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