Be the Rigden

Since the inception of the medium, there have been a couple of very good Buddhist podcasts (the Infinite Smile podcast and the Zencast podcast), both of which are Zen-influenced and originate from the San Francisco Bay area, and I’ve been a regular listener to both since the beginning. Recently, Ethan Nichtern, a member of the Shambhala community in which I study and practice and also a teacher on his own, has begun offering the 21st Century Buddhism podcast, which is based in Tibetan Buddhism and originates from here in New York. It’s a valuable contribution to the the digital proliferation of this ancient tradition.

I’ve now heard a few different approaches to the introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, and I think Ethan’s is the most effective. From its first episode, his podcast starts from the beginning and proceeds clearly and steadily. He’s an excellent teacher. He manages to be true to the tradition in which he’s based while making the teachings accessible to those who have no background in that tradition. If you’re curious about Tibetan Buddhism, his podcast is a great place to start.

Envy and Pride

A teacher told this story last night (which I’m paraphrasing heavily), and I found it very helpful. Perhaps you will as well:

I was working as a volunteer to pick up a teacher at JFK. I happened to own a van and was one of the junior volunteers, so I was driving the luggage van. I was circling outside the terminal, waiting for the signal to pull up for the luggage to be loaded. I was feeling envious of the senior volunteers who were in the terminal to greet the teacher upon his arrival. But I let that thought go and had a flash of insight. I thought to myself, “I’ll just be the best luggage van driver ever.” Just then, I hit a concrete barrier on the side of the road.