The Wisdom Podcast

Barbara Bonner: Reimagining Courage and Generosity

In this episode of the Wisdom podcast, we hear from Barbara Bonner, author of Inspiring Generosity and Inspiring Courage, both published by Wisdom. Barbara has dedicated her career to nonprofit management, fundraising and philanthropy. You’ll hear the ways her professional life has been deeply informed by experiences as a Buddhist practitioner, and likewise, how exposure to philanthropy has given way to new insights on the virtues of generosity. Barbara describes how a serendipitous trip to India paved the way for a discovery of Theravada Buddhism later in life, when she unexpectedly found herself studying with such great teachers as Jack Kornfield, Robert Thurman and Edward Espe Brown. Most profoundly, Barbara shares insights on the value of reimagining generosity as something beyond material exchange, and instead, as a personally transformational experience through an overcoming of the self. Additionally, you’ll hear Barbara and Daniel discuss courage as the engine that fuels all other virtues, as well as the inextricable link between courage and fear and courage and humility. Barbara also shares illuminating passages from both her books.

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Josh Korda: Honoring Transparency and Disclosure

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast we hear from Josh Korda, Dharma teacher in the Against the Stream lineage, guiding teacher of Dharmapunx NYC, and author of “Unsubscribe: Opt out of Delusion, Tune into Truth,” recently published by Wisdom. You’ll hear Josh share his navigation through the difficult emotional realities of his youth, and how battling substance abuse deepened his insights as a practitioner in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Josh explains how the trauma of witnessing 9/11 on the streets of New York catapulted him into a re-evaluation of his priorities, ultimately paving a way for a life in teaching. As a teacher, Josh shares his reverence for transparency and disclosure, a philosophy shaped by the irreverent punk culture of his youth, as well as a key mindset of both Dharmapunx teachers and practitioners. Central to his teaching is an upholding of the Buddha’s “householder” teachings, intended to support everyday contentment, rather than the monastic goal of ultimate transcendence. You’ll learn how Josh balances both Buddhist and western psychological traditions in his spiritual counseling and teaching, as well as a preview of his forthcoming book.

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Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche: In Praise of Spiritual Teachers

In this episode, we hear from Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher of the Longchen Nyingtik tradition and founder of Mangala Shri Bhuti. Raised in a religious family in northern India, Rinpoche was deeply influenced by both his parents. His mother was a highly revered practitioner of the Nyingma tradition, while his father was recognized as the third incarnation of the great treasure discoverer, or tertön, Chogyur Lingpa. Immediately following the tragic passing of his father when he was only 9-years-old, Rinpoche was recognized as an incarnation of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye by the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa. You’ll hear Rinpoche give an account of these crucial years of his childhood that eventually led him to spend years of study under his root teacher, the great Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, as well as revered scholar Khenpo Rinchen. Rinpoche eventually moved to the United States with his family in 1989 where he became World Wisdom Chair at Naropa University before founding Mangala Shri Bhuti.

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Malcolm Smith: Translating Dzogchen Texts

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast we meet Malcolm Smith, translator of the core Dzogchen text Buddhahood in this Life, recently published by Wisdom Publications. This inspired translation of the Great Commentary of Vimalamitra offers insights into one of the earliest and most influential texts in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. We sat down with Malcolm to hear the fascinating historical context of this classic text as situated within Tibet’s terma, or treasure, tradition. Most profoundly, Malcolm provides extensive insights on the finer points of Dzogchen meditation, including topics such as the pathway of pristine consciousness, how delusions arise, and the importance of receiving transmission from a qualified Dzogchen teacher.

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Geshema Kelsang Wangmo: Becoming the First Female Geshe

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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