David Nichtern: Mantra and the Power of Pure Sound

On this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken speaks with David Nichtern, celebrated musician and senior teacher in the lineage of renowned Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. David is also author of Awakening from the Daydream, published by Wisdom. In this fascinating conversation, you’ll hear Daniel and David discuss the idea of mantra and the spiritual capacity of sound. As both a practitioner and seasoned musician, David shares his thoughts on the transformative power of sound in both musical performance and mantra recitation, and mantra’s ability to protect and renew the mind in meditation. You’ll also hear David recount direct teachings he received on mantra, meditation and the “sound of silence” by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, as well as the relationship between sound and the other sense perceptions as understood within his tradition. Lastly, David discusses his upcoming book project on creativity and spirituality, and the practical wisdom of integrating both into a flourishing and productive life.

Awakening from the Daydream: Reimagining the Buddha’s Wheel of Life

Hell realms, gods, and hungry ghosts—these are just a few of the images on the Buddhist wheel of life. In Awakening from the Daydream, discover how these ancient symbols are still relevant to our modern life. Famously painted at the entryway to Buddhist monasteries, the Wheel of Life encapsulates the entirety of the human situation. In the image of the Wheel we find a teaching about how to make sense of life and how to find peace within an uncertain world.

Nichtern writes with clarity and humor, speaking to our contemporary society and its concerns and providing simple practical steps for building a mindful, compassionate, and liberating approach to living.

“A wonderful extension of the powerful Dharma teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The transmission of these ancient lineages is intact in David’s hands as he continues to update the traditional Buddhist teachings and make them ever more accessible to the contemporary audience.”—Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now

“David skillfully brings an ancient framework into a contemporary context and shows how working with these teachings can support our liberation right now. This is a wonderful book—pithy, relevant and fun to read. Plus the essay from Trungpa Rinpoche is a great bonus!”—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness

Awakening from the Daydream repurposes for our times an ancient map to freedom, giving us a smart and sure way to break out of the habitual grooves that bind us. David Nichtern speaks to us with a voice witty and wise. Deep wisdom in a spot-on package.”—Daniel Goleman, author of A Force for Good and Emotional Intelligence

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David Nichtern is a senior teacher in the lineage of renowned Tibetan Buddhist meditation masterChögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. David was one of the initial American students of Trungpa Rinpoche and studied closely with him soon after his arrival in the United States in 1970. David has been co-director of the Dharmadhatu Meditation Center (LA) and the Karme Choling Meditation Center (Vermont), as well as Director of Buddhist Practice and Study for OM Yoga (NYC) His work has been featured at The Huffington Post, and he leads meditation workshops around the world and online. David Nichtern is also a well-known composer, producer, and guitarist. A four-time Emmy winner and a two-time Grammy nominee, he is the founder of Dharma Moon and 5 Points Records. David has recorded and played with Stevie Wonder, Jerry Garcia, Lana Del Rey, Maria Muldaur, Paul Simon, and many others, and has also produced multiple records for and toured with Grammy-nominated kirtan performer Krishna Das.