Wisdom Dharma Chats | Venerable Thubten Chodron

In this episode of Wisdom Dharma Chats, you’ll hear host Daniel Aitken interview Venerable Thubten Chodron, abbess and founder of Sravasti Abbey in Newport, Washington. She has practiced the Buddha’s teachings for over thirty-five years, and has studied extensively with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tsenzhap Serkhong Rinpoche, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and Lama Thubten Yeshe among many other Tibetan masters.

Ven. Chodron begins the conversation by discussing her latest book, In Praise of Great Compassion, the fifth volume in the Library of Wisdom and Compassion. Over the past decades, Ven. Chodron has been developing these books in consultation with the Dalai Lama as a series of foundational translations that help contextualize Tibetan Buddhist teachings for those coming from a Western background. She describes the process of compiling and writing these texts, including the experience of sitting through multi-day interviews with the Dalai Lama, geshes and translators, and how she tries to formulate questions that Westerners often ask but that those raised within the tradition do not necessarily make explicit.

Daniel and Ven. Chodron delve into the content of In Praise of Great Compassion, covering the Four Immeasurables and comparing their manifestation in instruction and practice within the Theravada, Mahayana and Tibetan traditions. They then turn to the different conceptions across traditions of becoming an arhat versus becoming a buddha, as well as the role of compassion in generating bodhicitta. Finally, Ven. Chodron answers questions from the audience regarding her books as well as other inquiries about Buddhist teachings and practice.

To hear more about Ven. Chodron’s life and work, please enjoy this podcast interview. You can access further teachings through her Wisdom Academy online course, on her website, and on the Sravasti Abbey YouTube channel. In Praise of Great Compassion is available for purchase through Wisdom, along with the entire Library of Wisdom and Compassion series and Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions. You can also connect with Ven. Chodron on Facebook and Twitter.

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