The Lion’s Roar Podcast

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May 23, 2020  

(Repost) How to Love with bell hooks / The Truth of Love with Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath / Pure Love Tonglen Meditation with Dr. Judith Simmer-Brown

Author and activist bell hooks shares a simple formula for healthy romantic relationships, starting with the myth that love is a feeling – a noun. In fact she says, “love is what to do.”

Jungian psychoanalyst and Zen Buddhist Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath lays out the pitfalls of romantic love that lead us to idealization, delusion, disappointment and depression, and how to avoid them.

Then an introductory tonglen meditation to refresh and expand your heart, from the online course Flight of the Swans: Dharma Comes West, by Lion's Roar and Naropa University. 

May 16, 2020  

How to Be Sick with Pema Khandro Rinpoche and Toni Bernhard

Buddhist teachers Toni Bernhard and Pema Khandro Rinpoche have both known chronic illness first hand. In this conversation—especially relevant in the coronavirus era—they talk personally about relating to health and sickness through the Buddhist lens, and Bernhard describes the teachings that continue to help her find peace even 20 years after being diagnosed with a life-changing illness.



May 9, 2020  

Buddha and Baseball with Don Lopez / Walking Meditation with Oren Jay Sofer

Big-league baseball is on hold thanks to the coronavirus but a new book by Dr. Don Lopez captures the feel of the game in Buddha Takes the Mound: Enlightenment in 9 Innings. Rod Meade Sperry talks to him about the book, which combines Lopez's love of both baseball and Buddhism. Then, a chance for fresh air: Oren Sofer shares a 10 minute guided walking meditation. Find more meditations from his website at

May 2, 2020  

Multi-genre rap artist Born I Music and the album 11:11

Longtime Buddhist practitioner, mindfulness teacher, and hip hop artist Born I Music talks to Rod Meade Sperry about how he and his family are using mindfulness to cope with the shutdown due to coronavirus, how he came to learn and teach meditation, and how that practice has informed his newest album, 11:11. Includes a track from the forthcoming album.

April 25, 2020  

Arthur Russell’s Posthumous Album Iowa Dream with Steve Knutson

Arthur Russell was a genius musician, known for experimenting with genres from Indian classical to disco. He passed away at just 40 years old, leaving behind more than 1,000 tapes of unreleased music. Rod Meade Sperry asks Russell archivist Steve Knutson how these tapes fell into his possession, eventually becoming several posthumous albums, and about Russell's life as a Buddhist. Includes clips and a full track of Russell music.

April 18, 2020  

Grief and Gratitude with Koshin Paley Ellison and Robert Chodo Campbell

Koshin Paley Ellison and Robert Chodo Campbell are Zen monks who live in New York city where the death toll is reported to have risen to more than 10,000. They're the founders of the New York Zen Centre for Contemplative Care which helps caregivers, family, patients and clinicians cope with illness and death by using meditation and mindfulness as a foundation. Editorial assistant and podcast host Sandra Hannebohm asked how they've adapted to the new reality of coronavirus and quarantine, and what they’ve learned about grief and gratitude in the process. We start with a grounding meditation to open the interview, and end with a healing “pat of butter” meditation. 

April 11, 2020  

Roshi Joan Halifax on the Upaya Zen Center’s Response to Coronavirus / Practice for Confronting Illness

Roshi Joan Halifax is the founder, head teacher and abbot of Upaya Institute and Zen Center. In an interview with editor Rod Meade Sperry, she talks about how the center adapted to the threat of coronavirus by switching in-person programs and events to online platforms. Then, a quick practice to navigate the illness and fear brought on by the coronavirus crisis, and any time we confront illness.

Also, details on the Spring Practice Period: Honoring Women of the Way, and the upcoming Varela International Symposium on the nature of awareness in May. 

April 4, 2020  

Dharma in a Pandemic Era with Roshi Josh Bartok and Oren Jay Sofer

Social distancing has become the new buzzword but it doesn’t mean you need to stop caring and communicating in a social way. Buddhadharma editor Tynette Deveaux talks to mindfulness teacher Oren Jay Sofer about how and why we can deepen our understanding of our relationship to ourselves, one another, and the world – an approach that the COVID-19 pandemic seems to urge us to take.  

Then, from Roshi Josh Bartok of the Greater Boston Zen Centre, a dedication to sentient beings (and even non-sentient beings) we depend on to help stop the spread of coronavirus. 

March 21, 2020  

Meals That Heal the Heart and Practices for Living in the COVID-19 Era

Food writer and practicing Buddhist Elissa Altman lays out five ways to appreciate more of your meal, even if it means making peace with not having your favourite ingredients. But first, Bonnie Myotai Treace shares three powerful reflections and practices to help us stay open-hearted and connected as we cope with widespread fear and uncertainty.

March 13, 2020  

The COVID-19 Era Sangha Needs You / Aligning the Body and Mind with Oren Jay Sofer

The Buddhist community is reckoning with coronavirus as many brick and mortar centres temporarily shut down. Rod Meade Sperry of Lion's Roar shares a piece on what we can do to help. But first, a basic meditation to align the body and mind from Vipassana teacher Oren Jay Sofer.