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Emotions aren’t just the feelings in the body—they reflect neurons firing in the brain, and from the Buddhist perspective, they offer opportunities for profound insight. When we hold too tightly to our emotions, we risk getting caught up in them. But when we step back and harness the power of simply observing them, there is great potential for transformation.

AWAKEN Season 3 is hosted by singer and songwriter Falu. Guests featured in this episode include writer and professor Kiese Laymon, professor, clinical psychologist, and scientist Dr. Lisa Miller, writer and editor Haley Nahman, Tibetan Buddhist meditation teacher and author Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, and meditation teacher and writer Sebene Selassie. Learn more about our guests.



Avalokiteshvara in His Potala Pure Land; Tibet; late 18th–early 19th century; pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art; gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin; C2012.4.5 (HAR 1094)


Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion and the patron deity of Tibet, presides over his celestial dwelling of Mount Potalaka, believed to be an island off the coast of western India. Adorned in silks and jewels, the four-armed Avalokiteshvara holds crystal rosary beads in his upper right hand and a lotus flower in his upper left, both signifying purity. His other pair of hands are folded at the heart in a gesture of salutation. Green Tara, savior from fears, is seated in her pure realm of Sandalwood Grove in the lower left corner, and in the lower right is Padmapani, another form of Avalokiteshvara.

Unique details punctuate this resplendent scene—tiny figures climb the rope and cross the bridge toward Potalaka, representing the wish of Buddhists to attain rebirth in this realm, and a self-arisen image of Avalokiteshvara carved in a rock formation appears in front of the open gate. The silk brocade border reinforces the vivid colors and the images of the painting, extending outward to engage viewers to enter the pure realm themselves.

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AWAKEN is produced by the Rubin Museum of Art with Jamie Lawyer, Sarah Zabrodski, Christina Watson, Gracie Marotta, and Tenzin Gelek in collaboration with SOUND MADE PUBLIC including Tania Ketenjian, Sarah Conlisk, Philip Wood, Alessandro Santoro, and Jeremiah Moore.

Original music has been produced by Hannis Brown with additional music from Blue Dot Sessions.



AWAKEN Season 3 and the exhibition Death Is Not the End are supported by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation, Robert Lehman Foundation, and The Prospect Hill Foundation.

The Rubin Museum’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

Death Is Not the End is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.


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