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!
In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast Daniel Aitken traveled to Dharamsala, India to meet Geshema Kelsang Wangmo, a German-born nun who in 2011 made history by being the first woman to receive the prestigious geshe degree among Tibetan Buddhists. She shares with us extraordinary experiences in her scholastic journey, from the challenges she experienced as a Westerner and woman to the joys of studying her favorite subjects and the kindness of her teachers. Geshema Wangmo goes into detail about the rigorous program of study she completed over the course of seventeen years and discusses how beneficial studying can be as a tool for transforming the mind. She also looks to the horizon at what’s next for women in the tradition and speaks to the responsibility she feels to others as the first female geshe.
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In this episode we meet His Eminence Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche, lineage holder of the Zurmang Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Rinpoche shares with us captivating stories of how he was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche by H. H. the 16th Karmapa even before he was born, and he tells us what it was like growing up under the close guidance of the Karmapa. Rinpoche goes on to tell us about the history of the Zurmang tradition starting with its founder, the first Gharwang Rinpoche, Trung Mase, while describing the teachings unique to the lineage such as the Zurmang Whispering Lineage. Rinpoche also gives us advice on how to engage with others, highlighting the value of being caring and respectful in today’s world.
In this episode we meet Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, Zen priest and leader in the field of traumatic grief. We explore with Joanne her path to Buddhism and her work with the bereaved. She tells us how encounters with animals like her rescue horse, Chemakoh, have helped her open both to her grief and to compassion. Joanne shares with us her own transformative experience of grieving for her young daughter and how this set her on the path to work with other bereaved families. She helps us deconstruct the myth that it is a failure to grieve, and guides us to look at ways that we can relieve unnecessary suffering around the experience of loss and the fear of our own or others’ emotions. In this way, she explains, grief can be a transformative experience that expands the heart rather than contracts it.
In this special taping of the Wisdom Podcast in front of a live audience at Harvard Divinity School, renowned Tibetan Buddhist teacher Alan Wallace explores with us the benefits of shamatha practice for leading a balanced life. Recorded as part of his Wisdom Academy course, “Shamatha: Meditation for Balanced Living,” Alan shares with us the meaning of shamatha and its place among the Buddha’s meditation techniques. He relates how it is an essential practice in all schools of Buddhism, including Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana, and he specifically highlights its importance in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibet.
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.