The Wisdom Podcast

  • See our new Wisdom Podcast page here.


    The Wisdom Podcast is a Buddhist podcast that features interviews with leading thinkers from the Buddhist world. Each episode takes you on a fascinating exploration of Buddhism and meditation as our guests share stories and discuss life-changing practices, timeless philosophies, and new ways to think and live. Episodes have featured guests like His Holiness the Karmapa, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Robert Thurman, Tara Brach, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, and Jeffrey Hopkins. Please remember to give us a rating, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you for listening!


    Malcolm Smith: Translating The Tantra Without Syllables and The Blazing Lamp Tantra

    For this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken speaks with Wisdom author and renowned Tibetan Buddhist translator, Malcolm Smith. Malcolm has been a student of the Great Perfection teachings since 1992 and studied under Dzogchen masters Chogyal Namkhai Norbu and the late Kunzang Dechen Lingpa. His translations include Buddhahood in this Life: The Great Commentary of Vimalamitra, which is one of the earliest and most influential tests of the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Most recently, Malcolm has published the second installment of a multi-volume translation project of the Seventeen Tantras, which are among the most essential texts of the Great Perfection tradition. The first installment includes The Self-Arisen Vidyā Tantra (Vol 1) and The Self-Liberated Vidyā Tantra (Vol 2), published in 2019. His most recent translation is of The Tantra Without Syllables (Vol 3) and The Blazing Lamp Tantra (Vol 4), published in 2020.

    In this fascinating conversation, Malcolm and Daniel focus on Malcolm’s most recent translation of Volumes 3 and 4, discussing why these, like Volumes 1 and 2, are essential to an overall understanding of the whole Dzogchen system. You’ll hear Malcolm give a brief overview of the history of the Seventeen Tantras in relationship to Dzogchen, Dzogchen’s central teachers and texts, and how the Seventeen Tantras fit within other Tibetan Buddhist traditions. You’ll also hear why these two texts—The Tantra Without Syllables (Vol 3) and The Blazing Lamp Tantra (Vol 4)—are published together. Malcolm explains how these two texts contain some of the most detailed expositions on two essential practices of the Great Perfection: trekchö, the view, and thögal, the meditation.

    Malcolm and Daniel also discuss the nature of restriction of these texts both historically and for contemporary students of Dzogchen.

    This episode was recorded as part of our new series, Wisdom Dharma Chats, where you can attend live video versions of the Wisdom Podcast from the comfort of your own home. Wisdom Dharma Chats also include a Q&A where you can ask questions directly to Buddhist teachers, practitioners and scholars. To watch the video version of this podcast, visit our Wisdom Dharma Chats page.

    To hear Malcolm’s Wisdom Podcast on The Self-Arisen Vidyā Tantra (Vol 1) and The Self-Liberated Vidyā Tantra (Vol 2), which is the first 2-volume set of the Seventeen Tantras, click here.

    Read more less