The Rubin is transforming. Read important updates from our Executive Director.

Read the transcript of this episode.

In Buddhism, morality isn’t just about avoiding harm but helping others. It comes down to taking responsibility for our actions. We can never truly know our morals until they are tested. But faced with that test, it can wake us up to new ways of thinking, being, and relating to one another in the world.

AWAKEN Season 3 is hosted by singer and songwriter Falu. Guests featured in this episode include writer and professor Kiese Laymon, writer and editor Haley Nahman, artist and podcaster Nigel Poor, Tibetan Buddhist meditation teacher and author Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, neuroscientist Dr. Kay Tye, and meditation teacher and author Spring Washam. Learn more about our guests.



Previous Lives of the Buddha; Kham region, eastern Tibet; 1800–1899; pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art; gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin; C2006.66.488 (HAR 954)

Buddha Shakyamuni is an epithet for Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of the Buddhist religion. While the exact dates of Siddhartha’s life are debated, scholars generally place him in the sixth to fifth century bce. According to early Buddhist narratives, Siddhartha was born a prince of the Shakya clan in what is now northern India and southern Nepal. Choosing to leave his palace and family for a life as a religious ascetic, Siddhartha achieved enlightenment while meditating under the bodhi tree. Siddhartha spent the rest of his life as a wandering teacher, gathering disciples to form the early Buddhist monastic community (sangha). Buddha Shakyamuni is revered all over the Buddhist world today.

Learn more.


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.


Recommended For You