Why We All Must Be Scholar-Practitioners: Towards a Global Renaissance of the Science and Practice of Human Awakening

by Joe Loizzo


Editor’s note: The following are excerpts from Tarka, Volume 0, “Yoga Philosophy, On the Scholar-Practitioner,” a publication from Embodied Philosophy. The full article is available here as well, courtesy of Embodied Philosophy.


Have you ever wondered why the trend in modern science, scholarship, and practical expertise seems inexorably headed in one direction— towards more and more narrow specialization? I have. Since I was a teen, for some odd reason, this trend has felt so wrong to me that, in hindsight, much of my adult life and work have been dedicated to answering that question and reversing the trend. Here’s some of what I’ve learned and done on my journey thus far to bring the pieces of our humanity back together again. […]

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Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger —
A Book Talk with Lama Rod Owens

by Fiona Brandon

Lama Rod Owens led the 2021 Spring retreat for the San Francisco Contemplative Psychotherapy Program (CPP). The cohort had the honor of learning from Lama Rod over the course of a weekend. The San Francisco CPP opened up the retreat to the public for Lama Rod’s book talk, Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger.

We are delighted to share this book talk with you! Join in to hear Lama Rod explore how to practice the healing arts of Buddhist psychology during this time of social, racial, and political upheaval. You will get a taste of sitting with Lama Rod and hear the answers to questions including his experience of relating to anger, confronting discrimination in Buddhist communities, and accessing joy and happiness.

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Love and Rage: Lama Rod Owen’s Recent Book

Presented by Nalanda Institute with an excerpt by Lama Rod Owens

Lama-Rod-Owens-Love-and-Rage

Lama Rod Owens, dharma teacher, meditation and mindfulness instructor (and recent visiting faculty in our Contemplative Psychotherapy Program!) explores with grace and candor the power and uses of anger. In his just-released book, Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger he shares his personal journey with rage—how, at a young age, he internalized the belief that his anger was dangerous.

In a recent press release, Lama Rod has shared an adapted excerpt entitled “Blackness and Anger” from his book which we would like to share with you. Read on….


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No permanezcas inactivo; pronúnciate: Responsabilidad espiritual tras el asesinato de George Floyd

por Joe Loizzo

Publicado originalmente en inglés el 4 de junio de 2020.

Cada año a medida que se acerca el verano me siento a escribir algo celebratorio para las graduaciones de nuestros alumnos del programa de psicoterapia contemplativa y otros programas. Pero después de ver el asesinato desgarrador de George Floyd en vídeo, celebrar se siente imposible.

Mientras el coronavirus devasta los EE. UU., impactando desproporcionadamente a nuestras comunidades negras, mulatas e indígenas y revelando disparidades inaceptables en el ámbito de la salud y desigualdades financieras que exponen el racismo estructural de nuestra nación, vemos reafirmarse a la cultura de la supremacía blanca con los asesinatos de Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, George Floyd y los tuits incendiarios de nuestro presidente.

Pero tal como nuestros líderes negros, mulatos e indígenas nos han enseñado, esta embestida aplastante no es nada nuevo. Observar cómo un policía blanco aparentemente corriente apaga fríamente la vida de George Floyd es ser testigo de la recreación de siglos de opresión a sangre fría contra los negros e indígenas de esta tierra, la repetición de un trauma colectivo tan sádico y psicópata como cualquier genocidio de la historia humana.

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Don’t Just Sit There, Take a Stand: Spiritual Accountability in the Wake of George Floyd’s Murder

by Joe Loizzo

Usually, as summer nears, I would be sitting down to write something to celebrate our recent graduates in our Contemplative Psychotherapy and other programs. But it feels impossible to celebrate anything after watching the gut-wrenching murder of George Floyd on videotape.

As the coronavirus ravages the U.S., disproportionally impacting our black, brown and indigenous communities and revealing the unconscionable health disparities and financial inequities that expose our nation’s structural racism, we see the culture of white supremacy doubling down in the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, George Floyd and in the incendiary tweets of our president.

But as our black, brown, and indigenous leaders have taught us, this crushing onslaught is anything but new. Watching George Floyd’s life be coldly snuffed out by a seemingly average white policeman is witnessing the reenactment of centuries of cold-blooded oppression against the black and indigenous people of this land, the repetition of a collective trauma as sadistic and psychopathic as any genocide in human history.

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Our Underlying Wholeness, A Reflection On Buddha-Nature

By Scott Tusa

Buddha Nature

Editor’s Note: In this post, Nalanda Institute faculty Scott Tusa describes meditation as a practice of accessing our Buddha-nature, the open-hearted warmth and clarity the Buddha taught is our true essence. In a forthcoming Sustainable Happiness course which begins February 24th, Scott will be teaching what Tibetans consider the most direct path of meditation to quickly access that nature within us—the art of the Great Seal or ‘Mahamudra.’


The essence of the Buddhist path is the teachings on Buddha-nature (awakened-nature). As a foundational principle, I have found these teachings indispensable for my meditation practice.

What is Buddha Nature?

Buddha-nature represents the extremely positive news that our essence, no matter how many mistakes we make, is not fundamentally flawed. It is the opposite of original sin and affords us the potential for true freedom.

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Noble Struggle

by Geri Loizzo

The Noble Eightfold Path
1) Right View, 2) Right Intention, 3) Right Speech, 4) Right Action, 5) Right Livelihood, 6) Right Effort, 7) Right Mindfulness, 8) Right Concentration

As I sit down to write this reflection on the Noble Eightfold Path, my wandering mind searches for a point of connection to the here and now. The Buddha’s ancient guidelines seem to map the path as a clear straight line to be traversed step by step by anyone and everyone committed to following in his footsteps. But it’s not so clear how those of us struggling to live more mindfully in today’s stressful world can best apply that map in our own everyday lives.

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Atisha and Chekawa’s Healing Tree of Compassion: The Supreme Medicine of the Nalanda Tradition

by Joe Loizzo

Over the years since I first encountered Seven Steps for Transforming the Mind, the crown jewel of Tibet’s unique and timeless tradition of compassion training (lo-jong), it has been an unfailing source of guidance and inspiration on my own personal path, a real companion through good times and bad. Given the challenging times in which we live, I’m happy to be able to share some of its vital precepts, formulated by the Nalanda abbot Atisha Dimpamkara Shrijnana (982–1054) and recorded by Geshe Chekawa Yeshe Dorje (1101–1175), along with my own personal reflections. It’s my hope that the pointers I’ve selected from this text will help you go deeper in your practice of radical openness and life-transforming kindness, whether for yourself or others, close, neutral and far.

Precepts in italics, my comments in regular text.

“(This compassion practice) resembles the sun, a diamond, and a medicinal tree—
(It shines on all, cuts the hardest suffering, and is useful in every part).”

Within the Nalanda tradition, compassion is prized and practiced as the ground on which all human progress towards personal freedom and communal happiness stands. Compassion practice is not just for the high minded or troubled. Like the sun it brings vital warmth and light to everyone. Since it is the safest, most powerful tool for facing life’s inevitable hardship and negativity, it is like a diamond blade that cuts through the hardest blocks. And since it is entirely wholesome and endlessly beneficial, any part of this all-inclusive practice, even one precept, can be of life-giving value and life-saving help. So as far as the Tibetan masters like His Holiness the Dalai Lama are concerned, it’s not an exaggeration to say that this simple practice holds the key to all good things for all beings.

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2019: The Year in Review

By Nalanda Institute Editors

  • Compassion-Based Resilience Training in Toronto
    Compassion-Based Resilience Training (CBRT) with Joe Loizzo at X-Hale in Toronto

As the year comes to a close, we’d like to take the time to share with you some highlights of all we’ve accomplished together throughout the year!

Late Winter. We brought in 2019 with a trifecta of inspiring courses and trainings: Yoga, Mind & Spirit Training, Sustainable Happiness Course in Compassion, and Meditation Teacher Training in Compassion.

Spring. In the spring, alongside our Toronto partner X-Hale, we successfully launched our new online Compassion-Based Resilience Training (CBRT) Teacher’s Program, with outreach worldwide; and graduated the NYC and San Francisco cohorts of our Contemplative Psychotherapy Program.

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The Journey to Boundless Leadership Starts with Leading Ourselves

By Elazar Aslan

“That was a terrible meeting,” my client said in exasperation. “Honestly, I think they had their mind made up and nothing I did really mattered. Apparently they’ve had conversations about my project that did not even include me. There’s no way I can win…I really can’t take it anymore. I need to find a way out of here.”

As an executive coach, this is not an uncommon starting point for a conversation. Every day I try to guide my clients to use the challenges of the workplace to strengthen their capacity to go inwards and find a skillful response. Using clarity and self-awareness, we all can grow to avoid the negative consequences of a reactive mind. My clients learn early in our relationship that true leadership is borne from the radical leadership of self.

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