On this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken travels to Montreal to speak with Thupten Jinpa, scholar and former monk in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and primary English translator to His Holiness the Dalai Lama since 1985. In this rich conversation, Jinpa describes his intellectual training at Shartse College of Ganden Monastic University in South India, and reveals fascinating insights on the value of memorization as well as the art of debate in monastic education. Having worked in an intimate context with His Holiness the Dalai Lama for over thirty years, Jinpa shares how observing the Dalai Lama has influenced his own character and spiritual practice. He talks about the Dalai Lama’s rare and impressive qualities—his unusual joy, how he balances confidence with humility, and his precision in combining scholarship with meditative practice.
The Wisdom Podcast
In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken speaks with Lama Tsultrim Allione, teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and author of Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine. Lama Tsultrim is also founder and spiritual director of Tara Mandala Retreat Center in southern Colorado. In this rich conversation, you’ll hear Lama Tsultrim tell stories from her remarkable spiritual journey—from her ordination by His Holiness the 16th Karmapa as a young woman, to her studies with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Years later, after starting a family and the tragic death of one of her children, Lama Tsultrim began a path toward the sacred feminine, and began researching the role of women in Buddhism. She talks about giving up her vows after being a nun, how motherhood became a form of spiritual training for her, as well as her experiences as a feminist Dharma practitioner. Lama Tsultrim addresses the urgency of women’s issues in both Buddhism and in the world large, as well as remedies for healing through spiritual practice.
In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken speaks with Geshe Tashi Tsering, a teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition who was recently appointed abbot of Sera Mey Monastery by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In this episode, you’ll hear Geshe Tashi share stories from his scholastic journey—from his early years at Sera Mey that would eventually lead to a geshe lharampa degree, to his years teaching at Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London. Upon encouragement by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Geshe Tashi would continue his education at the School of Oriental and Asian Studies at the University of London, where he completed an additional degree in Social Anthropology on contemporary interest in mindfulness practices. Geshe Tashi discusses his experiences acclimating to Western culture and the particular skillfulness he believes is needed in order to teach Western students. He also shares his reflections on coming full circle, from young monk to eventual abbot of Sera Mey Monastery, as well as his plans for the future including upcoming projects and publications. You can learn more about Geshe Tashi on his website, GesheTashi.org.
In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken speaks with Bhikkhu Anālayo, prolific writer and scholar of early Buddhist thought, and author of Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research, recently published by Wisdom. As part of a special live event, Daniel is joined by Professor Charles Hallisey of Harvard Divinity School as they speak with Venerable Anālayo on the topic of rebirth and its particular significance to early Buddhist doctrine. In this rich conversation, Venerable Anālayo suggests ways we might think through ideas such as past-life recollection and whether it is useful to consider rebirth as something that can be proven or verified. With Professor Hallisey, Venerable Anālayo considers the historical reception of rebirth in both monastic and lay communities across traditions, as well as fascinating case studies in which people claim to have memory of their former lives. Lastly, Venerable Anālayo discusses whether belief in rebirth doctrine is necessary for full awakening according to early Buddhist doctrine.
In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, Daniel Aitken speaks with H. E. Dza Kilung Rinpoche, revered teacher in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, and head of Kilung Monastery in East Tibet. Kilung Rinpoche was discovered as a reincarnation of H. H. Jigme Ngotsar Gyatso, a yogi who built Kilung Monastery in the eighteenth century. Jigme Ngotsar was also one of four main disciples of Jigme Lingpa, a revered visionary of the Nyingma lineage, and among the chief tertöns, or treasure revealers, of the Longchen Nyingtik cycle of teachings. In this episode, you’ll hear Rinpoche explain his connection to Longchen Nyingtik teachings, as well as the history of their transmission throughout the ages, and their particular significance to Dzogchen. Rinpoche also shares wisdom for contemporary practitioners, offering insights on the necessary relationship between shamatha and vipashyana, as well as the difference between absolute and relative bodhichitta.