Recognized by the Nyingma school as the reincarnation of the Tibetan Buddhist scholar Jamgon Kongtrul the Great, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche has drawn many students since moving to America from India in 1989. After serving as a professor of Buddhist philosophy at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, he founded Mangala Shri Bhuti (MSB), an international organization dedicated to preserving the Buddhist lineage of Longcheng Nyingtik. He now facilitates retreats nationwide and is the primary teacher of author and nun Pema Chödrön. Kongtrul Rinpoche is also an abstract artist and the author of several books. In this issue, he discusses patience in an excerpt from Peaceful Heart (2020).

featured contributors winter 2020
Photo courtesy Penn School of Arts & Sciences


When religious studies professor Jolyon Baraka Thomas moved to Japan at the start of his academic career in 2002, he started watching anime films by Studio Ghibli as an aid to learning Japanese. Fascinated by the rich animation and use of religious concepts and imagery, he made the films the subject of his first scholarly article and, eventually, the basis of his first book, Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan (2012). HBO recently made Studio Ghibli films available to subscribers, so we asked Thomas to review the collection for our readers.

featured contributors winter 2020
Photo by Tom Ward


The activist and author Jamyang Norbu has been called a “radical Tibetan separatist” by a Chinese Communist party newspaper and stirred controversy by criticizing the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” of seeking a compromise with China. Norbu was a resistance fighter in the 1970s; he now lives in Tennessee with his wife and daughters. His books include an award-winning Sherlock Holmes novel set in Tibet. In this issue, Norbu explores a classical Buddhist teaching on politics.

featured contributors winter 2020
Photo by Emily Tobey


Novelist, essayist, editor, and teacher, Jenny Offill is the author of Last Things, a finalist for the L.A. Times First Book Award in 1999, and Dept. of Speculation, which the New York Times Book Review named one of the Ten Best Books of 2014. This issue features an excerpt from her most recent novel, Weather.