Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel: On Faith and Dependent Arising

On this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken speaks with Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, meditation teacher and practitioner in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and author of The Logic of Faith: the Buddhist Path of Finding Certainty Beyond Belief and Doubt. In this rich conversation, you’ll hear Elizabeth speak about her spiritual curiosity as a child and young adult, and her early ventures to Nepal where she met her husband and teacher Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. Having spent four years in retreat, Elizabeth shares how she learned to transform feelings of loneliness into a greater understanding of contingency and connection. This insight into the nature of dependent arising is at the heart of Elizabeth’s practice. She shares insights on the subtle ways we both lean into and resist this wisdom, and how a deeper understanding of this nature of contingency naturally paves the way for care and compassion. She and Daniel also discuss her devotional orientation to Madhyamaka philosophy and how she reconciles faith, reason, grace, and doubt.

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel has studied and practiced the ancient wisdom of Mahayana Buddhism, as well as the Vajrayana tradition of the Longchen Nyingthik, for over thirty years under the guidance of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. She has been intimately involved with Rinpoche’s work in bringing Buddhist wisdom to the West, in particular the development of Mangala Shri Bhuti, an organization dedicated to the study and practice of the Longchen Nyingthik lineage. Elizabeth has an academic background in both anthropology and Buddhist studies, but her learning is also grounded in practice. After many years of solitary retreat, she became Retreat Master at Longchen Jigme Samten Ling, Mangala Shri Bhuti’s retreat center in southern Colorado. Elizabeth is the author of The Power of an Open Question: The Buddha’s Path to Freedom and as well as The Logic of Faith: the Buddhist Path to Finding Certainty Beyond Belief and Doubt.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel