interview

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    The Point of Contact Paid Member

    At the age of fourteen, Steve Young, a Jewish kid growing up in Los Angeles, saw a samurai movie. It triggered in him an interest in Japanese culture and language that eventually led to his enrollment in an alternative school system for Japanese-American children. From then on, he grew up “bilingual and bicultural.” When he reached high school, to deepen his understanding of Japanese culture, Young felt he needed to understand its Chinese influences, so his parents hired a Mandarin language tutor. When he learned of the influence of Indian culture on Chinese culture by way of Buddhism, he moved on to Sanskrit, and asked his parents for another tutor. More »
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    Stroked by the Guru Paid Member

    Ram Dass’s books and lectures have been an inspiration to many people. Ram Dass (formerly Richard Alpert, Harvard professor and longtime friend of Timothy Leary’s) is responsible for turning on many in the West to Eastern religious ideas and is the author of such spiritual classics as Be Here Now; The Only Dance There Is; and Journey of Awakening. He created the Hanuman Foundation to spread spiritually directed social action in the West and co-founded the Seva Foundation, an international service organization working on public health and social justice issues, which has made major progress in combating blindness in India and Nepal. More »
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    Awareness Itself Paid Member

    His Holiness the Twelfth Gyalwang Drukpa is the head of the Drukpa School of Tibetan Buddhism, one of Tibet’s great practice lineages, and is a renowned master of the Mahamudra and Dzogchen lineages. He has monasteries and nunneries in India and Nepal, as well as centers in Europe and Mexico. This is his first interview in ten years. Lama Surya Das, a Western Dzogchen teacher, taught English to the Gyalwang Drukpa at His Holiness’s monastery in Darjeeling, India, in the early seventies. Lama Surya Das is the founder of the Dzogchen Center and author of numerous books, most recently Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be: Lessons on Change, Loss and Spiritual Transformation. This conversation took place at Lama Surya’s hermitage and sanctuary, Dzogchen Osel Ling, outside Austin, Texas, last November. More »
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    Old Wine, New Bottles Paid Member

    Lama Surya Das, the American founder of the Dzogchen Foundation, a lay practice center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was born Jeffrey Miller in Brooklyn, New York, in 1950. He spent nearly thirty years studying with many of the great spiritual masters of Tibet, including Kalu Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Gyalwa Karmapa, and Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche. A dzogchen lineage holder, Lama Surya Das has twice completed the traditional three-year Vajrayana meditation retreat at Shechen Monastery in Dordogne, France. In addition to leading dzogchen retreats, he is the author of Awakening the Buddha Within and Awakening the Sacred, and has translated into English a selection of Tibetan wisdom tales, published in a collection titled The Snow Lion's Turquoise Mane. This interview was conducted at Lama Surya Das’s home in Concord, Massachusetts, by Helen Tworkov. More »
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    Buddha and the Bulls Paid Member

    Big time sports is not normally viewed as a path to enlightenment. Most coaches are spiritual disciples of Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, who is reputed to have coined the phrase "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." Not so Phil Jackson. More »
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    Saved by History Paid Member

    By her own account, Elaine Pagels is “incorrigibly religious.” For her, the historical study of religion is a passionate pursuit, one that engages the whole of one’s being. The Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion at Princeton University, Pagels is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost scholars of the history of early Christianity. Indeed, it would not be an overstatement to say that she has forever altered how we understand the historical foundations of Christian tradition. In the process, she has eloquently demonstrated how understanding humankind’s religious past can pave the way for a more inclusive and open-minded understanding of religious life today. More »