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

Dungse Jampal Norbu: A New Generation of American Buddhists

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, we meet Dungse Jampal Norbu, Dharma teacher in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism and son of the revered Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. Dungse was raised in a Tibetan-American family in Colorado. At the instruction of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Dungse’s father set him on a path to uphold and continue his lineage in the Dzogchen Longchen Nyingtik tradition. You’ll hear Dungse share stories from his cross-cultural evolution as a student, practitioner, and teacher of Buddhism, including his years of intense Buddhist training in India, as well as his annual 100-day retreat at Longchen Jigme Samten Ling. We also hear Dungse share his thoughts on being Dharma heir to his father, as well as the value of artistic practice in both his and his father’s life. Lastly, Dungse offers insights on our contemporary age of social media, as well as the millennial generation in the United States, and how the Dharma might translate to a younger generation of American Buddhists.

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Karen Derris: A Professor and Her Students Engage H. H. the Karmapa

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, Daniel Aitken speaks with Dr. Karen Derris, scholar of South and Southeast Asian Buddhist traditions and Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Redlands. For the past several years, Karen has had the rare opportunity of working one-on-one with His Holiness the Karmapa as an editor of his most recent book, Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society. You’ll hear Karen share the deep impact of working under the Karmapa’s direct guidance, which she describes as like being “inside a sutra” and among the most profound experiences of her entire career. Karen also shares stories from her travels to Gyuto Monastery in India, where she and her students met with the Karmapa for a three-week dialogue. Karen describes how this rare connection with the Karmapa had a profound influence on her students’ professional aspirations, leading to deeply meaningful service-oriented careers. Additionally, their conversations helped inform the message of Interconnected, which offers a twenty-first century model of interdependence in support of a truly global society.

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Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche: Lineage and Transmission in the Nyingma Tradition

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, recorded with a live audience, Daniel speaks with Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche, revered teacher in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism and founder of the Danakosha Dharma Center in Finland. Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche was recognized by His Holiness Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche as a reincarnation of Drupwang Rogza Sonam Palge, a hidden yogi of eastern Tibet. Third in his line of tulkus, Rinpoche shares stories from the legendary lives of his earlier incarnations as well as their esteemed contemporaries. Now a Dharma teacher based primarily in Europe, Rinpoche discusses his program of study in Finland, where he’s lived for ten years, as well as his own education at the famous Mindrolling Monastery in India. As an introduction to his oral transmission of Buddhahood in this Life, one of the earliest and most influential Dzogchen texts, Rinpoche shares insights on this particular transmission as well as the tradition of transmission more broadly in his lineage.



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Ani Choying Drolma: A Voice for Nepalese Buddhist Nuns

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, Daniel speaks with Ani Choying Drolma, Tibetan Buddhist nun from Nepal and internationally renowned singer of both traditional and contemporary Tibetan song. Ani-la is also founder of multiple nonprofits in Nepal, such as the Arya Tara School, which promotes the equality, education and welfare of Nepalese Buddhist nuns.

Ani Choying entered Nagi Gompa nunnery at age 13, intentionally choosing monastic life over marriage. Escaping an abusive home, Ani-la found refuge in the nunnery. It was here where she would discover childhood for the first time, and where she flourished as a young entertainer and singer. Ani Choying shares stories about her beloved teacher, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, who offered unconditional guidance and mentorship, ultimately paving the way for her to pursue singing professionally. You’ll hear Ani-la describe her artistic life as both a performer and Buddhist practitioner, and the parallels she finds between singing and meditation. She also describes the difference of intention between devotional singing and regular performance, and the power of certain mantras to stir energies. Finally, Ani-la shares insights on the issue of gender discrimination in Nepal, and the ways in which her nonprofit, the Nuns’ Welfare Foundation, creates opportunities for women to surmount gender-based obstacles.

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H. H. Sakya Trichen: Learning from the Lives of Great Masters

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, Daniel travels to Tsechen Kunchab Ling in upstate New York to speak with His Holiness Sakya Trichen Rinpoche, the 41st throne holder of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. You’ll hear His Holiness share insights from the first volume of his book Freeing the Heart and Mind, as well as his forthcoming second volume. Both books emphasize the necessity of learning the Dharma through the life stories of great Buddhist masters. His Holiness speaks on the practical nature of the sutrayana teachings as outlined in his first book, as well as the life of Mahasiddha Virupa and his key role in the formation of both the Lamdré lineage and the Sakya school at large. His second volume looks at valuable life lessons from the legendary 13th century leader of the Sakya order, Drogön Chögyal Phagpa—namely his relationship with the Mongols and the religious conversion of Kublai Khan. We also hear His Holiness share insights on the nature of samaya in the guru-disciple relationship, as well as his views on restricted teachings and their increased availability in the modern world.


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