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Michael Imperioli has a knack for playing mobsters and villains. Best known for his roles as Christopher Moltisanti on The Sopranos and Dominic Di Grasso on The White Lotus, the Emmy Award–winning actor has made a career out of exploring addiction and afflictive emotions on screen. Offscreen, though, Imperioli is a committed Buddhist practitioner. In 2008, he and his wife took refuge with Garchen Rinpoche, and during the pandemic, they began teaching online meditation classes together, exploring Tibetan Buddhist texts like The Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva. Though his practice no doubt influences his creative work, Imperioli prefers to focus on the everyday ways that Buddhism has restructured his life. For him, Buddhism offers a way to liberate harmful emotions and cultivate patience and compassion on a day-to-day level.

In this episode of Tricycle Talks, Tricycle’s editor-in-chief, James Shaheen, sits down with Imperioli to talk about the dangers of the instrumentalization of Buddhist practice, what The White Lotus can teach us about craving and dissatisfaction, and whether he believes that liberation is possible in this lifetime.

Tricycle Talks is a podcast series featuring leading voices in the contemporary Buddhist world. You can listen to more Tricycle Talks on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio.

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