David Nichtern: Awakening from the Daydream

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In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, we meet David Nichtern, a senior teacher in the Shambhala tradition, renowned musician, and author of Wisdom’s recently published book, Awakening from the Daydream. David tells us about how he encountered Buddhism through the iconic teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche during his first visit to the United States. He relates his experience studying with Trungpa Rinpoche over the years, describing Rinpoche’s fearless and creative teaching style, how his teachings were transformative, and the legacy he left his students after his death. David then shares wisdom with us from his new book, which elaborates on the powerful psychology within the image of the Wheel of Life, and speaks on how we can understand karma as continuity rather than as an external authority.

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Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche with David Nichtern, circa 1981. Courtesy David Nichtern.

About the Interviewee

David Nichtern is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. David was one of the initial American students of renowned meditation master Trungpa Rinpoche and studied closely with him soon after his arrival in the United States in 1970. David has been co-director of the LA Shambhala Center and Karme Choling Meditation Center in Vermont, as well as Director of Expansion for Shambhala Training International and Director of Buddhist Practice and Study for OM yoga. His work has been featured at The Huffington Post, and he leads meditation workshops around the world and online. He has several online meditation workshops available through creativeLIVE.com. His DVD/CD package OM YOGA & MEDITATION WORKSHOP, created in conjunction with yoga teacher Cyndi Lee, is widely available.

David Nichtern is also a well known composer, producer, and guitarist. A four-time Emmy winner and a two-time Grammy nominee, he is the founder of Dharma Moon and 5 Points Records. David has recorded and played with Stevie Wonder, Jerry Garcia, Lana Del Rey, Maria Muldaur, Paul Simon, and many others. Among his many credits in records, film, and TV, are the classic song “Midnight at the Oasis” and the score for Christopher Guest’s film The Big Picture. As the Beyman Bros, he collaborated with Guest and CJ Vanston on an album Memories of Summer as a Child and has produced multiple records for Grammy nominated kirtan performer Krishna Das.

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