The Wisdom Podcast

Ross Bolleter: The Intimacy of Zen Koan Practice

Discover one man’s experience of integrating Zen teachings into everyday life through decades of koan practice. In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast we meet Ross Bolleter Roshi, Zen author and teacher in the Diamond Sangha lineage. Ross shares with us stories from his many years of practice and study, beginning with how he met and became a student of Robert Aitken in the early 1980s. We hear how Aitken gave Ross his first koan to practice and eventually, together with John Tarrant, gave him transmission. Ross also discusses the relationship between koan practice and kenshō, and he shares how koan practice can transform one’s life over many years. Finally, we hear about his forthcoming book on Western koans, Crow Flies Backwards.

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Harold Talbott: Remembering Thomas Merton’s Encounters with the Dalai Lama

Hear about one man’s powerful encounters with Dzogchen masters and his memories of facilitating the famous meeting of Thomas Merton with the Dalai Lama and other notable Tibetan lamas. In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast we meet Harold Talbott, long-time Dharma practitioner and editor for esteemed teacher Tulku Thondup. Harold tells us his fascinating journey in the Dharma, including how he initially met the Dalai Lama in India in the mid 1960s and became his student. He also shares with us many of his extraordinary encounters with Tibetan Buddhist teachers over the decades like Chatral Rinpoche, Dodrupchen Rinpoche, and Tulku Thondup Rinpoche. Harold then tells us how he came to facilitate the meeting of famed Catholic theologian and writer Thomas Merton with the Dalai Lama in 1968, and then accompanied Merton throughout his trip to India meeting several accomplished Tibetan lamas during the final weeks of his life.

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Andy Rotman: The Divine Stories of Early Buddhism

Discover the powerful teachings on philosophy and faith woven into the classical stories of early Buddhism. In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast we meet Andy Rotman, professor of religion and Buddhist studies at Smith College and chief editor for Wisdom’s Classics of Indian Buddhism series. An expert in the field of Buddhist literature, Andy shares with us the important role of narratives in monastic and lay life in South Asia, and how they were used to cultivate wisdom and compassion. We also hear some of Andy’s favorite tales from his translations of Divine Stories (Divyāvadāna), one of the most important collections of ancient Buddhist narratives. Find out what to expect in the upcoming second volume of his translations—Divine Stories, Part 2—forthcoming in the fall of 2017.

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Leonard van der Kuijp: Discovering Tibet with a Leading Scholar

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast we meet Leonard van der Kuijp, professor of Tibetan and Himalayan studies at Harvard University. A preeminent scholar in the field of Tibetan philosophy and translation, Leonard shares with us how he began his studies and what it was like being a student of the pioneer philosopher and translator Herbert Guenther. He also dives into fascinating stories that explore the intellectual and cultural history of Tibet, recounting tales of the Indian scholar Śākyaśrībhadra’s journey to Tibet in the thirteenth century. Leonard’s amusing and vivid stories tell us more about the spread of Buddhism in Tibet and shed a humanizing light on this important and defining time in Tibet’s past.

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Kathleen Dowling Singh: Grace and Awakening

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast we meet Kathleen Dowling Singh, Dharma practitioner and author of The Grace in Aging and the newly released book The Grace in Living. Kathleen shares with us the story of how she has come to value grace and awakening as key aspects of her spiritual life. She tells us about her childhood and the influence her aunt, a Catholic nun, had on her early spiritual development and curiosity. We also hear about how she came to Buddhist practice and how she understands grace in the Buddhist path. Kathleen then imparts her wisdom on the art of spiritual biography, sharing with us how we can recognize the grace that is present in our lives, understanding that we are already awakening.

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