MINDY NEWMAN & KAIA FISCHER

Mindy Newman and Kaia Fischer were introduced by Phakyab Rinpoche of Sera Mey monastery in 2017 and shortly thereafter began a collaborative writing practice exploring the intersection of psychology and scriptural exegesis. Over the past year, they have presented four teachings from a Tibetan text that was only recently translated into English. Their common areas of interest include Buddhist storytelling, guru devotion in the Tibetan tradition, and the K-pop supergroup Blackpink. “Embracing the Buddha” is the final article in their four-part series on the Karmashataka Sutra.

Photo courtesy August “Annie” Tritt

AUGUST “ANNIE” TRITT

Theravada Buddhist practitioner August “Annie” Tritt is a multi-media storyteller dedicated to fostering connection and transformation through their work. As a nonbinary/transgender and queer photographer and writer who has worked for such outlets as the New York Times, People, and Smithsonian, Tritt created the project “Transcending Self” to bring visibility to the lives of transgender and nonbinary youth and challenge notions about identity, gender, and self. Tritt photographed Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison, co-founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, for a “Day in the Dharma.”

Photo by Sarah Bo Studio

SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA

Poet and short story writer Souvankham Thammavongsa is a rising star in the literary world. Born in a Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, and raised in Toronto, Canada, Thammavongsa was awarded the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her short story collection, How to Pronounce Knife. She has published four books of poetry, including Light, which won the 2014 Trillium Book Award for Poetry, and the ReLit Award-winning Small Arguments, which she wrote while she was still an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto. This issue features an excerpt from How to Pronounce Knife, about an immigrant family’s experience in a new land.

Photo courtesy Myra Klarman

DONALD S. LOPEZ JR.

Donald S. Lopez Jr. is a leading American scholar in the field of Indo-Tibetan and East Asian Buddhism. With his 1998 book Prisoners of Shangri-La, he challenged Western readers to grapple with the consequences of romanticized depictions of Tibet. The many works that he has since written, edited, and translated—and his tenure as the Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan—continue to serve as vital resources for students of Buddhism. Ever the provocateur, in his latest article Lopez calls into question commonly accepted ideas about the history of Buddhism and social action.

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