Why did you want to give a dharma talk on a new paradigm for science and religion in the 21st century? I feel science and religion have come to an impasse, each entrenched in a belief system they refuse to question and test. To rise to the challenges of the modern world, we must integrate our deepest scientific and spiritual insights. The dominant triad of materialism, hedonism, and consumerism must be replaced with pluralism, genuine well-being (eudaimonia), and an ethical way of life rooted in nonviolence and benevolence.
Where did you grow up? Primarily southern California but also Switzerland, Scotland, Germany, and Israel.
What’s your daily practice? Devotional practices—guru yoga, the four immeasurables, bodhicitta—and Dzogchen.
Favorite aphorism? Dromtönpa’s advice: “Give up all attachment to this life. Let your mind become dharma.”
Longest you’ve gone without meditating? Not a day since I moved to India in 1971 to study Tibetan Buddhism.
Longest retreat? A series of six-month retreats between 1980 and 1984, and four six-month retreats since.
Book on your nightstand? Not on my nightstand but close to my heart day and night: Düdjom Lingpa’s The Vajra Essence.
What do you like to do in your free time? Meditate.
Who is your teacher? I’ve trained under many Buddhist masters, but H. H. the Dalai Lama has been my root lama since 1971.
What non-Buddhist(s) do you look to for guidance? The psychologist and philosopher William James, the philosopher Hilary Putnam, and the physicist John A. Wheeler.
First job? Lecturer in Tibetan Buddhism, culture, and language at UC, Santa Barbara.
What would you do if you weren’t a Buddhist teacher? Buddhist contemplative full-time.
This September, watch B. Alan Wallace’s Dharma Talk series, “A New Paradigm for Science and Religion,”at tricycle.org/dharmatalks.
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