Wonderful Podcasts

Happiness Is Practice, Not Pleasure with scholar monk Matthieu Ricard and Krista Tippet. In this short (7 min.) discussion, Matthieu talks about the nature of authentic happiness that can be present in the midst of any and all circumstances.

The Rise Of Homo Deus -In this remarkable broad ranging presentation, acclaimed historian Yuval Noah Harari talks about the distant history of man and how our sudden rise to the top of the evolutionary food chain is based on the stories that we tell and the myths that we live by.  Yuval Noah Harari is the author of international bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. 

The Future Worth Building - Pope Francis says that the preciousness of each and every one of us is a light to overcome darkness the darkness of suffering. He calls for a revolution of tenderness that allows us to see and hear each other, to be together with each other, to care for one another. He says that tenderness is the path of solidarity, the path of humility. This is an extraordinary beautiful and powerful message. 

Living in Deep Time - Franciscan monk, author and activist, Richard Rohr, talks with Krista Tippet about the deep transformation that the spiritual path calls us to undertake. His views on modern spirituality, the stages of the path and the power of initiation are extraordinarily insightful and descriptive of the path of all contemplative traditions. 

A Buddha in Oakland - You must  listen to this remarkable podcast on how a symbol transformed a troubled community.

The Science of Mindfulness - Here's a wonderful talk by neuroscientist and meditation teacher, Cortland Dahl, about the latest research on meditation and the brain. Excellent.

The Inner Landscape of Beauty - The Irish poet and philosopher John O'Donohue was beloved for his book Anam Ċara, Gaelic for "soul friend," and for his insistence on beauty as a human calling. In one of his last interviews before his death in 2008, he articulated a Celtic imagination about how the material and the spiritual — the visible and the invisible — intertwine in human experience. 

Father Thomas Keating offers the closing remarks at the 2016 Inter-Spiritual Retreat at his monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.  This was a gathering of religious leaders from various faiths for what will, likely, be Father Thomas‘ last retreat.

Hopes and Dreams in a World of Fear - For over a decade, the French-American anthropologist Scott Atran has been listening to the hopes and dreams of young people from Indonesia to Egypt. In this extraordinary interview with Krista Tippet, he explores the human dynamics of what we analyze as “breeding grounds for terrorism” — why some young people become susceptible to them and others, in the same circumstances, do not.  A must listen to.

Sublime Attitudes That Work for All - Tim talks with Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian about the understanding and practice of the ‘Four Boundless Attitudes’ as they are presented in the Buddhist tradition and in the Yoga Sutras.  Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian is a nun in the tradition of Paramahansa Yogananda who brought the teachings of Kriya Yoga from India to the West. She is the Spiritual Director of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment in San Jose, California.
You can get it through iTunes - Here

Death is Not Final - In this Intelligence Squared debate, four scientists, who are at the very forefront of the question of the neurological and spiritual aspects of dying, debate the question of whether, or not, there is a life after this life. This is a fascinating and important discussion. 

A Culture of Feelings - In this lovely short clip, Ponlop Rinpoche talks about how in western society, there is a developed culture of “feelings.” He explains how this causes many problems, but how also cultivating correct use of feelings can be beneficial.

Gun Violence in America - Political commentator and author Fareed Zakaria talks eloquently about the troubling pervasiveness of guns and gun violence in America. 

Altruism is the solution says Matthieu Ricard - In a TED Talk, Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard offers his simple solution to climate change, biodiversity loss and global inequality. The problem, he says, is selfishness, and the solution is altruism. It’s a simple—even naïve—idea, but Matthieu makes a compelling case that altruism is a real, effective solution. 

Investigating Healthy Minds – Krista Tippet talks with famed neuroscientist Richard Davidson who says that the choices we make can actually “rewire” our brains. He’s studied the brains of meditating Buddhist monks, and now he’s using his research with children and adolescents to look at things like ADHD, autism, and kindness. Richard Davidson is William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He's the founder and director of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, and a founding member of the Mind and Life Institute which explores the cutting edge between neuroscience and the contemplative practice. 

The Calling of Delight: Gangs, Service, and Kinship - On Being’s Krista Tippett talks with Father Gregory Boyle, about a vision for a community of kinship, a circle of compassion that no one stands outside of. Gregory Boyle is a Jesuit priest and founder of Homeboy Industries, which, for the past 26 years has served the enormous gang population of Los Angeles. H’s written an extraordinary memoir -Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. 
Watch how remarkable TED Talk "Compassion  and Kinship" - Here
Listen to a wonderful interview with Father Boyle and Krista Tippett - The Calling of Delight: Gangs, Service, and Kinship - Here

Parenting and ‘essence love’ - In this beautiful short teaching given to Steamboat community, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, talks about how to instill love into the hearts of our children ‘in silence’.  Essential listing for all of us who have children, or who have ever been a child.

Taking Care of Our Mind - Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, with his characteristic humor, reflects on the many demands we make on our mind, and why it’s important to take care of it.

This Is Water: Some Thoughts -  is a commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace at Kenyon College in 2005. Wallace (1962 – 2008) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and professor. In this remarkable address he talks about subjects including “the difficulty of empathy”, “the importance of being well adjusted”, and “the essential lonesomeness of adult life.” He proposes that the overall purpose of higher education is to be able to consciously choose how to perceive others, think about meaning, and act appropriately in everyday life. Extraordinary.

Embracing Our Enemies And Our Suffering - Two well know Buddhist teachers, Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman, shine a Buddhist light on a classic Christian teaching: love of enemies. The two of them are working together on how we relate to that which makes us feel embattled from without, and from within.

The Happy Secret to Better Work - In this remarkable TED Talk, Psychologist Shawn Achor offers a clear an crisp glimpse of the field of ‘positive psychology‘ and the far reaching consequences of bringing happiness to out lives.

From Stone to Flesh: A Short History of the Buddha - In this excellent interview, Buddhist scholar, Donald Lopez, talks about how the Buddha has been ‘reimagined’ by European scholars in the 19th century -

Gunfighter Nation - The essential teaching of the Buddha is ‘Ahimsa’ (non-harm) and the essence of the teachings of Jesus is the ‘Golden Rule’.  With this is mind, Bill Moyer’s conversation with with cultural historian Richard Slotkin about the history of the culture of guns and violence in America is particularly timely.

From Prince, to Beggar to the Founder of Buddhism -  with Kevin Trainor, Department of Religion chair at the University of Vermont- About 2,500 years ago, a man named Siddhartha Gautama was born in Nepal. He would become known as the Buddha, which in Sanskrit means “awakened one.” What he awakened to was a new way of finding happiness: letting go of the idea of a permanent self, and practicing compassion, mindfulness and moderation.

Being Alone Together - Psychologist and MIT professor, Sherry Turkle, talks to Bill Moyers about why we expect too much from technology and not enough from each other. Turkle, author of Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other says our devices are not only changing the way we communicate and interact with each other, but also who we are as human beings.

Joseph Campbell and ‘The Power of Myth’ Bill Moyers and mythologist Joseph Campbell compare creation myths, and talk about how religions and mythologies need to change with time in order to maintain their relevance in peoples’ lives. This is a remarkably clear exploration of what we might call a ‘tantric’ vision of reality.  Fascinating.

Erasing DeathIn this remarkable interview, Dr. Sam Parnia, a critical care doctor and director of resuscitation research at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, talks about ‘near death’ experience and the its implications for our understanding about the nature of consciousness.

Alain de Botton on a School of Life for AtheistsAlain de Botton is a philosopher who likes the best of religion, but doesn’t believe in God. He’s created “The School of Life,” a secular community in London, which places learning and ideas back to where they should always have been – right in the middle of our lives. In this interview with Krista Tippett, he explains why wisdom and ritual shouldn’t be reserved just for believers. He is the author of Religion for Atheists and How Proust Can Change Your Life.

Aung San SuuKyi - LibertyThe Burmese pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, explores what freedom means. Reflecting on her own experience under house arrest in Burma, she explores the universal human aspiration to be free and the spirit which drives people to dissent. She also comments on the Arab Spring.  This is a truly remarkable piece.

Homesick for Our True NatureIn this short teaching, Mingyur Rinpoche discusses the relationship between buddha nature and the universal desire to be happy and free from suffering. As he explains, our desire for happiness is a constant reminder in our lives that true and lasting contentment is possible for all beings.

The Persistence of FaithIn this first in a series of ‘Reith Lectures’ Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Dr Jonathan Sacks, argues that religion is the best moral framework for society. This is a beautiful and highly reasoned discussion of the role of religion in modern society.

Inward Work of Democracy - Krista Tippett speaks with philosopher Jacob Needleman. As new democracies are struggling around the world, it’s easy to forget that U.S. democracy was shaped by trial and error. A conversation about the “inward work” of democracy — the conscience that shaped the American experiment.

Would the World Be Better off Without Religion? Does religion breed intolerance, violence, and the promotion of medieval ideas?  Or should we concede that overall, it has been a source for good, giving followers purpose, while encouraging morality and ethical behavior? Join in to an enlightening ‘Oxford style’ debate on Intelligence Squared Debates.

‘Pursuing Happiness’ with the Dalai LamaThe Dalai and three global spiritual leaders discuss the meaning of happiness in contemporary life: a Muslim scholar, a chief rabbi, and a presiding bishop. For this new year, an invigorating and unpredictable discussion exploring the themes of suffering, beauty, and the nature of the body.

His Holiness the 17th Karmapa at TED Talks on ‘The Technology of the Heart’ His Holiness talks about how he was discovered to be the reincarnation of a revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism. In telling his story, he urges us to work on not just technology and design, but the technology and design of the heart.

Krista Tippet talks with Matthieu Ricard,  "The Happiest Man in the World"Matthieu trained as a scientist, and for was the personal attendant to HH Khyentse Rinpoche for many years. He is one of the clearest voices in the western Buddhist world.  This is a wonderful interview that touches on many of the most important and inspiring points of meditation and the spiritual path.  This is a ‘must listen’ for all of us.

Opening to Our Lives - Krista Tippet talks with on Jon Kabat-Zinn - Jon Kabat-Zinn talks what he’s learned through science and experience, about mindfulness as a way of life.  Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. This is an eloquent presentation of meditation from the point of view of science and society.

Investigating Healthy Minds - Krista Tippet talks with Neuroscientist Richie Davidson - Richie is Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior.  He has pioneered the study of the effects of meditation on long term practitioners.  He’s worked extensively with Mingyur Rinpoche.  Richie is also the research director for the Mind and Life Institute founded by the Dalai Lama.

Matthieu Ricard at TED Talks on ‘The Habits of Happiness’ - Sometimes called the "happiest man in the world," Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, author and photographer. Matthieu says we can train our minds in habits of well-being, to generate a true sense of serenity and fulfillment.

Pema Chodron with Bill Moyers on ‘Faith and Reason’Bill Moyers speaks with Buddhist nun and friend of The Buddhist Center, Pema Chodron. Ani Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun and author whose teachings and writings on meditation have helped make Buddhism accessible to a broad Western audience. She currently directs the Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada, the first Tibetan monastery in North America for Western monastics and lay practitioners .

A Physicist Explains Why Parallel Universes May ExistPhysicist Briane Greene talks and NPR’s Terry Gross in a succinct and fascinating discussion of modern physics, and the bewildering propositions of string theory, quantum physics and the possibility of parallel universes.  Greene, is the author of The Elegant Universe and his latest book The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos.

David Brooks at TED talks on ‘The Social Animal’Tapping into the findings of his latest book, NYTimes columnist David Brooks discusses new insights into human nature from the cognitive sciences -- insights with massive implications for economics and politics as well as our own self-knowledge. In a talk full of humor, he shows how you can't hope to understand humans as separate individuals making choices based on their conscious awareness.

The Moral Math of Climate Change A conversation about climate change and moral imagination with Bill McKibben, a leading environmentalist and writer who has been ahead of the curve on this issue since he wrote The End of Nature in 1989. This podcast explores the evolving perspective on human responsibility in a changing natural worl.

The Paradox of Choice Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz's estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in CrisisBased on his research in economics, and borrowing from new research in mind science, American economist, writer, and activist, Jeremy Rifkin, suggests that human's are wired for empathy and that history tells us that our sense of connectedness, and need to demonstrate empathy for the entire 'biosphere' is the key to surviving as a race.  This is an amazing conversation, and creates the social and economic imperative that underlies our own training in meditation, and the development of loving kindness and compassion. 
You can also read his intriguing thoughts on the ‘American Dream’ - Here

The Religious Roots of American Democracy with Philosopher Jacob NeedlemanSpeaking of Faith radio’s Krista Tippet speaks with Philosopher Jacob Needleman about the spiritual and moral ideals of the American founders — and how these ideals resonate in our culture today. Democracy, Needleman says, is inner work, not just a set of outward structures.

Michael Sandel - "Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?"Justice is the most popular course at Harvard and is available in podcast form. This series of lecturesrelates the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues of the day. What are our obligations to others as people in a free society? Should government tax the rich to help the poor? Is the free market fair? Is it sometimes wrong to tell the truth? Is killing sometimes morally required? Is it possible, or desirable, to legislate morality? Do individual rights and the common good conflict? Michael Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard, where he has taught political philosophy since 1980. 

Bill Moyers speaks with Robert Wright about his new book ‘The Evolution of God’ Robert Right believes that "God," the human concept, can evolve — indeed that it already has. And though Wright personally believes this concept is an illusion, he thinks that the illusion might just be evolving in a way that reveals some underlying truth, that comes ever-closer to describing the divine. 

Krista Tippett talks with Michael McCulloughabout his book ‘Getting Revenge and Forgiveness’ Michael McCullough describes science that helps us comprehend how revenge came to have a purpose in human life. At the same time, he stresses, science is also revealing that human beings are more instinctively equipped for forgiveness than we've perhaps given ourselves credit for. Knowing this suggests ways to calm the revenge instinct in ourselves and others and embolden the forgiveness intuition.

Krista Tippet talks with religious scholar Jaroslav Pelikan on ‘The Need For Creeds’For many modern Americans, the very idea of reciting an unchanging creed, composed centuries ago, is troublesome. But, Jaroslav Pelikan, who died on May 13, 2006, was a scholar who devoted his life to exploring the vitality of ancient theology and creeds. He insisted that even modern pluralists need strong statements of belief.

Sam Harris at TED Talks on ‘Science can Answer Moral Questions’ Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are commonly thought unanswerable by science. But Sam Harris argues that science can -- and should -- be an authority on moral issues, shaping human values and setting out what constitutes a good life.

A History of Doubt with Jennifer Michael HechtPoet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht says that as a scholar she always noticed the "shadow history" of doubt out of the corner of her eye. She shows how non-belief, skepticism, and doubt have paralleled and at times shaped the world's great religious and secular belief systems. She suggests that only in modern time has doubt been narrowly equated with a complete rejection of faith, or a broader sense of mystery.

Liberating Our Founders with Steven WaldmanWarning: this conversation may not mirror what you learned in school. The culture wars of recent years, journalist Steven Waldman says, hijacked Americans' understanding of the country's founders and of the meaning of religious liberty. This hinders people from grasping what is really at stake in the current debates about the relationship between government and religion. It may even distort the wisdom we might bring to young democracies around the world.

The Science of Love with Helen FisherWhy do we crave love so much, even to the point that we would die for it? To learn more about our very real, very physical need for romantic love, Helen Fisher and her research team took MRIs of people in love -- and people who had just been dumped.  Anthropologist Helen Fisher studies gender differences and the evolution of human emotions. She's best known as an expert on romantic love.

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