The Wisdom Podcast

H. E. the 12th Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche: The History of the Zurmang Kagyu Tradition

In this episode we meet His Eminence Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche, lineage holder of the Zurmang Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Rinpoche shares with us captivating stories of how he was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche by H. H. the 16th Karmapa even before he was born, and he tells us what it was like growing up under the close guidance of the Karmapa. Rinpoche goes on to tell us about the history of the Zurmang tradition starting with its founder, the first Gharwang Rinpoche, Trung Mase, while describing the teachings unique to the lineage such as the Zurmang Whispering Lineage. Rinpoche also gives us advice on how to engage with others, highlighting the value of being caring and respectful in today’s world.

Listen »

Joanne Cacciatore: Bearing the Unbearable

In this episode we meet Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, Zen priest and leader in the field of traumatic grief. We explore with Joanne her path to Buddhism and her work with the bereaved. She tells us how encounters with animals like her rescue horse, Chemakoh, have helped her open both to her grief and to compassion. Joanne shares with us her own transformative experience of grieving for her young daughter and how this set her on the path to work with other bereaved families. She helps us deconstruct the myth that it is a failure to grieve, and guides us to look at ways that we can relieve unnecessary suffering around the experience of loss and the fear of our own or others’ emotions. In this way, she explains, grief can be a transformative experience that expands the heart rather than contracts it.

Listen »

Alan Wallace: Meditation for Balanced Living

In this special taping of the Wisdom Podcast in front of a live audience at Harvard Divinity School, renowned Tibetan Buddhist teacher Alan Wallace explores with us the benefits of shamatha practice for leading a balanced life. Recorded as part of his Wisdom Academy course, “Shamatha: Meditation for Balanced Living,” Alan shares with us the meaning of shamatha and its place among the Buddha’s meditation techniques. He relates how it is an essential practice in all schools of Buddhism, including Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana, and he specifically highlights its importance in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibet.

Listen »

Marcus Perman: Translation and Transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in the West

In advance of the Tsadra Foundation’s Translation and Transmission Conference we spoke with Marcus Perman, Director of Research for Tsadra, an organization dedicated to advancing the combined study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Marcus tells us about how he came to his role after studying Eastern and Western philosophy, traveling in Tibet and the Himalayas, and attending an early translator’s conference as an aspiring translator. He shares with us Tsadra’s unique role in applying strategic philanthropy to the Tibetan Buddhist community sponsoring scholars, meditators, and translators of all schools, and how this has had an impact on the transmission of Dharma in the West.

Listen »

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.

Listen »