Wisdom Dharma Chats | Sarah Harding

In this Wisdom Dharma Chat, host Daniel Aitken interviews Sarah Harding, qualified lama and teacher in the Shangpa Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Since 1972, Sarah has been a student and translator of Kalu Rinpoche (1905-1989), one of the first Tibetan masters to teach in the West. She works as a teacher, oral interpreter, and translator, and has taught in the religious studies department of Naropa University and lives in Boulder, Colorado. Sarah translated Creation and Completion: Essential Points of Tantric Meditation by Jamgön Kongtrul, and is currently working on translations of Tibetan Buddhist texts as a fellow of the Tsadra Foundation.

Sarah recalls how she began reading Buddhist texts, including the Life of Milarepa, when she was in high school. In subsequent years, she traveled across the world, eventually ending up in the Darjeeling region of India, where she became a student of Kalu Rinpoche in the Shangpa lineage along with a handful of other Westerners. Following time spent back and forth between India and Nepal, Sarah went to northern Thailand and attended a retreat with Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw and comments on the differences of practice in a Theravada context. Finally, after a return to America, she embarked on a three-year retreat in France and recounts what daily life was like there and the difficulty of integrating back into society afterwards. Sarah and Daniel also get into a discussion of Sarah’s experiences with the traditional practice of chöd.

Following the conversation, Daniel fields audience questions for Sarah. In this Q&A session, she speaks at length on the most challenging and rewarding aspects of translation, working with both colloquial and classical Tibetan, and the impact of her scholarship on her practice among other topics.

To learn more about some of the Tantric meditation practices that Sarah mentions, please check out her translated work, Creation and Completion, available through Wisdom.





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