Alan Ginsberg Tribute (1998)

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Allen Ginsberg Raw Interview February 3, 1994

Allen Ginsberg was one of the greatest poets, and most generous Americans of the 20th century.  I interviewed him quite a bit in 1994 in connection with the publication of his collected poems, and for later for the post-mortem tribute I produced after his death in 1996 (also on this blog).  I thought my conversation with him (warts and all) might be of interest to those who knew or know and appreciate him.  So I put it up here with no editing at all, just for bumps.

Posted in Americana, Buddhism, Poetry, Profile, Religion, Spirituality

Buddhism in the USA

Buddhism, once thought exotic has been mainstreaming at the rate of mind.  As with other cultures, Buddhism has moved through our culture without force, but by adapting itself to the strengths and shortfalls with what it finds.  This piece, which features Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, the late Rick Fields, David Phillips, Helen Tworkov, Sogyal Rinpoche and other luminaries, explores how Buddhism seems tailor-made for the American ethos, and acts as an antidote to our excesses. Narrated by Jessica Berman.

Posted in Americana, Buddhism, Long form docs (15" and up), Religion, Spirituality

Gary Snyder: Poet and Zen Bio-Regionalist (Earth Day)

For nearly 60 years, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder has combined an environmental awareness shaped by America’s Far West with a Zen Buddhist perspective that celebrates and reveres the natural world.

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Karme Choling Tibetan Buddhist Community in Vermont

Tibetan Buddhism has changed and blossomed in the American context.  Nowhere has it taken deeper root than in the Karme Choling (Tail of the Tiger) center in Barnet Vermont, in the heart of the Green Mountains. This is not a monastery; men and women live together, cook together, make drama together and walk a path toward enlightenment together.  This long form doc explores this community and the Buddhist and all-to-human-experience this pressure cooker brings alive.

Posted in Americana, Buddhism, Long form docs (15" and up), Religion, Spirituality

Radical Acceptance: The Buddhism of Tara Brach

In our culture, self-denigration and unease with ourselves and others is a common theme.  Our internal dialogs can mesmerize us, making us unhappy, and our lives unproductive and robotic.  Being at peace in the moment, whatever arises, in a compassionate mode is a Buddhist way.  In this piece, I discussed Radical Acceptance with  Dharma teacher Tara Brach, who has written a brilliant book on this very subject.

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Ram Das on Spirituality and the Dying Process (RAW INTVW)

Ram Das aka Richard Alpert, the author of “Be Here Now,” is one of the spiritual giants of the 20th and 21st century. This is a raw interview I did with him in connection with a 20 minute story I was doing for VOA about spirituality and the dying process, and how several spiritual tradition can use the imminence of death as a way to “wake up” and get real.

I offer this interview warts and all (they are all mine). Also see my interview with Steven Levine (author of “Who Dies?” on the same theme, and the finished doc, which is also in this blog.

Posted in Buddhism, Health, Long form docs (15" and up), Religion, Spirituality

Spirituality and the Dying Process (documentary)

Almost all the world’s religions and spiritual paths agree: how you you live is how you die, so you better get ready.  This long form doc explores the wisdom of several perspectives on this urgently relevant topic.  Listen, laugh, and get going! Includes lots of talk with Ram Das and Steven Levine, Robert Thurman, and many others.

Also of interest: Ram Das long form raw interview connected with this story.  Also Steven Levine’s interview.

Posted in Buddhism, Health, Long form docs (15" and up), Religion, Spirituality

The Dalai Lama Interview on Conflict and Mind

In 1995, it was my good fortune to be flown down to Atlanta to interview the Dalai Lama. It was in the middle of a very ambitious and (to me) fascinating multi-million dollar project I was producing at the time on conflict resolution, and the psychology of war, violence, reconciliation and peace.  This long form doc uses some clips from His Holiness, and is leavened with dramatized excerpts from his speeches on these subjects, voiced by my colleagues at the VOA’s Tibetan Service.

May these words benefit all sentient beings!

Posted in Buddhism, Long form docs (15" and up), Religion, Spirituality

The Ink Dark Moon: Buddhist Love/Sex Poetry from Courtly Japan (written by women)

This is a story about some of the most beautiful short poetry I have ever come across. Edited by the poet Jane Hirshfield (see “Given Sugar, Given Salt” elsewhere in this blog), it is a collection of short erotic haiku-like poems written by Ono No Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, who were part of the Japanese medieval court.  The themes – transience, love, loneliness, and erotic longing – are eternal, but the words come across both artful and vividly personal (not to mention steamy) across the centuries.

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