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What is enlightenment? What does it mean to be truly awake? Are you awake?

Enlightenment can take many forms. In this final episode, we will look back at highlights from all our guests and consider enlightenment from Tibetan Buddhist perspective with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, a highly respected Tibetan Buddhist meditation teacher from the Kagyu tradition, one of the four main lineages of Tibetan Buddhism.

This episode features Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche along with Aparna Nancherla, Alok Vaid-Menon, Tara Brach, Latham Thomas, Amanda Palmer, Lama Rod Owens, Tsherin Sherpa, BJ Miller, Patricia James, and host Laurie Anderson.


Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche integrates traditional Buddhist practice and philosophy with the current scientific understanding of the mind and mental health in his approach to teaching meditation, making the practice of mediation relevant and accessible to students around the world.

Born in Nepal in 1975, Mingyur Rinpoche began studying meditation as a young boy with his father, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, himself a well-respected Buddhist teacher. He spent many years of his childhood in strict retreat and completed the traditional Buddhist training in philosophy and psychology. In addition to extensive training in the meditative and philosophical traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, Mingyur Rinpoche has had a lifelong interest in Western science and psychology, which has led to many fruitful collaborations with neuroscientists and psychologists.


Standing Crowned Buddha with Four Scenes of His Life; Southern Magadha region, Bihar, India; ca. 1050″“1100; Basalt; Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; The Avery Brundage Collection, B65S11

The historical Buddha stands before us, fully enlightened, yet he wears the jewels and crown of his earlier princely life. The figure’s seeming androgyny similarly signals that this is an image of the awakened state, unbounded by dualities. It is, at once, the Buddha and all buddhas.

As you stand before this figure, recall that your mind has the capacity to encompass object and subject simultaneously. The image is both the object of our contemplation and, if seen from the right perspective, a likeness of its beholder’s buddha-nature. Look for your reflection in it, and it in you


AWAKEN is produced by the Rubin Museum of Art with Vincent Baker, Dawn Eshelman, Jamie Lawyer, Sandrine Milet, Elena Pakhoutouva, and Dawnette Samuels. It was produced in collaboration with Sound Made Public, with Tania Ketenjian, Katie McCutcheon, and Philip Wood.

Special thanks to Karen Sorensen for additional consulting.

All music for AWAKEN was created by Blue Dot Sessions, Podington Bear, Tendinite, and Siddhartha Corthus.


This podcast is supported by Barbara Bowman, the Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation, The Prospect Hill Foundation, Bob and Lois Baylis, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as by generous donations from the Museum’s Board of Trustees, individual donors, and members.

AWAKEN is sponsored by Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, a print and digital magazine dedicated to making Buddhist teachings broadly available.