The Wisdom Podcast
The Wisdom Podcast
Nov 30, 2015
Ven. Thubten Chodron: An American Buddhist Abbess
Play episode · 59 min

On this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, hear host Daniel Aitken’s conversation with Venerable Thubten Chodron, the abbess of Sravasti Abbey in Newport, Washington. Venerable Chodron recounts her first exposure to Buddhism back in the 1970s on a trip to Nepal and India in her twenties. After returning to the United States and showing up to a meditation class, she describes becoming rapidly certain that she had found a tradition which offered thought-provoking, meaningful answers in response to the many existential questions of her life. 

Many of Venerable Chodron’s earliest experiences as a nun were influenced by a series of encounters with masters for which she has felt deeply grateful throughout subsequent decades of practice. She outlines how one, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, demarcated dharma and non-dharma actions according to one’s entanglements with the eight worldly concerns and expounds upon how this line of teaching transformed her motivations and practice. After years of living and training as a novice, Venerable Chodron describes the beautiful moment when she became a fully ordained Bhikshuni in 1986, and her expanded journey as a Buddhist monastic following that point.

Daniel and Venerable Chodron then transition to a discussion of the state of affairs for Western Buddhist monastics today, the challenges and rewards of monastic life, and her reasons for starting Sravasti Abbey. While they agree that the widespread uptake of meditation and mindfulness techniques across America has certainly benefited many, they lament that the larger Buddhist worldview is often lost in translation. Venerable Chodron shares her hopes that growing monastic communities in the West, such as her own at Sravasti Abbey, are able to offer the support that is so crucial to sustaining a monastic life, both spiritually and materially.

Finally, Venerable Chodron speaks about her recent book, Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions, how it came to be, and what she learned throughout the long process of writing it.

For further thoughts and teachings from Venerable Chodron, be sure to check out the books she has compiled and co-authored with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, including The Foundation of Buddhist Practice, Approaching the Buddhist Path, Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature, Following in the Buddha’s Footsteps, In Praise of Great Compassion and of course, Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions. Venerable Chodron’s Wisdom Dharma Chat with Daniel and her Wisdom Academy online course are also available through Wisdom.  

The post Ven. Thubten Chodron: An American Buddhist Abbess appeared first on The Wisdom Experience.

Buddhist Geeks
Buddhist Geeks
The Fascism this Time, with Theo Horesh
In this timely episode–released just weeks before the 2020 US Election–host Vince Fakhoury Horn is joined by human rights advocate, public intellectual, and old friend Theo Horesh.  Theo is a long-time meditator, was one of the earliest guests on Buddhist Geeks, and is author of several books, including the one that serves as the basis for this conversation: “The Fascism this Time : And the Global Future of Democracy.”  During this conversation Vince & Theo explore what Fascism is–both historically & philosophically–how nihilism and despair are playing out in global society right now (especially in America), the many dimensions of human identity that are at play for us all, and the way that our current “split-level development” involves both a profound regression, as well as the potential for transcendence in service of the public good. _Memorable Quotes_ “Marx once noted that all great historical events repeat themselves, the first time as tragedy, and the second as farce.  And what we’re seeing now is a farce, but we should take it seriously, because it’s the same nihilistic drives that lie behind it.” - Theo Horesh “Fascism is going to end in destruction for a couple of key reasons.  One is it’s driven by nihilism. The second thing is that what sustains it, is its insulation from reality.  So, it’s not just going to be irrational in its approach to things, it’s going to be completely divorced from reality, and as time goes on it’ll be more and more divorced.” - Theo Horesh _Episode Links_ 📖 The Fascism this Time : And the Global Future of Democracy 📖 Convergence: The Globalization of Mind 🎙 Convergence (Theo Horesh’s Talk from the 2014 Buddhist Geeks Conference) 📃 The revenge of the 'Oxy electorate' helped fuel Trump's election upset 📃 Cosmopolitanism
1 hr 12 min
This Jungian Life
This Jungian Life
Deborah Stewart, Lisa Marchiano, Joseph Lee
Episode 135 - Horror: Why Can’t We Look Away?
The hair on the back of our necks bristles in response to the horrors of the uncanny. Transfixed by shock, awe, dread and fascination, we can neither dare the dangerous darkness nor turn away. The mysteries of the unknown take us into realms of transgression and taboo. Enthrallment and abhorrence mix in encounters with all that is alien and dispossessed. We face our own human monstrosities and the traumas that create them. We also meet the dark, nonhuman otherness of the collective unconscious; it threatens to possess us and can annihilate our sense of self. Whether we shudder in disgust, quiver in fright, or feel forbidden attraction, we are forced to more fully acknowledge the awful portent of ominous misfortune and confront the abyss. Only consciousness can break the spell. Dream "In my dream I was talking with my therapist on Zoom. The topic of our conversation wasn't clear, but I had the sense that my therapist kept misunderstanding what I was saying. He then did the "share screen" feature on Zoom to show me that he had been keeping a record on his computer of the different ways that I was wrong about who I thought I was. For example, he said that I thought that I was a kind person, but he had determined I was only kind 40% of the time. As he showed me this, a graph appeared across my face, and I had the sense that he had been spending our time together taking measurements of my face and wasn't listening to what I was saying. The dream then changed and I was outdoors standing next to a Native American man in traditional dress. The man was working with cloth. I approached him and he told me that he was working on creating a garment similar to the one that he was wearing that he was going to give as a gift to his son." References Greg Mogenson. God is a Trauma: Vicarious Religion and Soul-Making (Amazon) Lisa’s quotation from Thus Spoke Zarathustra, by Friedrich Nietzsche (Amazon).
1 hr 2 min
The Tao Te Ching for Everyday Living
The Tao Te Ching for Everyday Living
Dan Casas-Murray
Tao Te Ching Verse 58: Practicing Balance
*Tao Te Ching Verse 58 * translated by Wing-Tsit Chan When the government is non-discriminative and dull, The people are contented and generous. When the government is searching and discriminative, The people are disappointed and contentious. Calamity is that upon which happiness depends; Happiness is that in which calamity is latent. Who knows when the limit will be reached? Is there no correctness (used to govern the world)? Then the correct again becomes the perverse. And the good again will become evil. The people have been deluded for a long time. Therefore the sage is as pointed as a square but does not pierce. He is as acute as a knife but does not cut. He is as straight as an unbent line but does not extend. He is as bright as light but does not dazzle. Photo by Christophe Hautier on Unsplash *Threading Life’s Needle* Lao Tzu says that the Sage is square but has no rough edges, is bright but not dazzling.  In other words, the Sage is balanced in her approach.  She keeps things within herself as steady as she can - and that is the priority.  Not trying to control everything around her, she pays attention to her reactions to those things.  Notice we said she doesn’t try to control her reactions - she just observes them.   I’ve got this image of a boat navigating through a strait avoiding tricky outcroppings of rocks and shallow bottoms.  Or of threading a needle.  It seems to me that despite all the challenges, all the opportunities and disasters, the thing that is important is for us to maintain balance through it all.    And how do we do that?  Observing things, firstly.  And the second thing is more of an attitude than anything.  Things we call ‘bad’ happen.  And when that’s the case, idk about you, I tend to internally resist undesirable things or situations or feelings.  But what if I saw these things as growth opportunities?  Would they be so bad after all? Of course on the surface, this looks like me just trying to be optimistic about things, right?  But what else can we say?  A broken car and no work would mean that I could look for the opportunity to see the situation as a tool to help me refine my reaction to it, couldn’t I?  Absolutely.  I wouldn’t have the opportunity to work on my reaction to it without it!  So yes, trying to put a positive spin on things is one thing.  But using a seemingly negative situation to become aware of my negativity and addressing it is another. And so that’s what I feel like we are called to look at in this third part.  The fact that yes, things are going to happen - and it’s not totally about letting them be, although that’s the first part.  It’s also about trying to maintain balance during those things that helps us grow into more evolved versions of ourselves. So taking a step back, I think the takeaway from this verse is this: When I try to force things, it just causes discontent and chaos, so maybe it’s better to allow things to occur.  But when great things occur, there is almost certainly the chance that not so great things will come out of it.  So if I can remain aware of and detached from the ebb and flow of things, without trying to control it, I can work on my internal reactions.  I may use the ebb and flow as opportunities to evolve myself.  And like threading a needle, I’ve found a way to approach life that allows me to grow without having too much effort into it.
34 min
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