Wisdom in Exile: Tibetan Buddhism for an Awakening World (Embodied Philosophy)


Join 9 esteemed scholars, teachers and dharma leaders as they explore the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and their significance to the contemporary world.

A profound wisdom exiled from its historical homeland is inspiring a renaissance of thought throughout the world’s spiritual communities.

Tibetan Buddhism is unique among the many schools of Buddhist thought. For centuries, Tibetan Buddhists held esteemed residencies in the great Indian Buddhist Monastic Universities and translated the cream of those Buddhist “Libraries of Alexandria” into a unique collection as well as continuing the oral practice traditions from the great Siddhas during the full flowering of Indic Buddhism from 600 to 1100 CE.

The schools of Tibetan Buddhism were subsequently developed in a post-Imperial cultural environment where militarism was radically decreased and approximately eighty percent of the population was involved in articulating and supporting the Dharma – or in supporting those who were studying such teachings.

This atmosphere provided Buddhist practitioners in Tibet an opportunity to deeply consider the foundations of Buddhist thought. Many erudite thinkers added their voices to the Buddha’s words, and there was a significant and far-reaching flowering of Mahayana teachings over the course of several centuries that informed Buddhist philosophy in a wide variety of scholarly and lay contexts.

The canon of work that emerged from these pursuits addresses some of the most important mysteries that we, as humans have always faced – and offers a repository of knowledge that can help us confront the challenges of the modern existential dilemma we are confronting today.

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama has been instrumental in creating structures where this wisdom has, in large measure, been preserved in spite of the challenges of the Chinese occupation of Tibet that began in 1959 and continues to the present. He has worked tirelessly to save this valuable wisdom in spite of the destruction of Tibet’s schools, monasteries and cultural institutions and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Tibetans.

The question now is: How do we continue to preserve this wisdom? How do we meet the challenge of keeping these teachings in the forefront of spiritual inquiry for philosophers, thinkers, teachers and spiritual seekers so that the world does not lose this knowledge?

This lecture series seeks to answer these questions and more. Join us as renowned Tibetan Buddhist practitioners come together with esteemed scholars to explore the profound insights and perennial teachings of one of the world’s great wisdom traditions.

Wisdom in Exile Faculty

Robert Thurman
A recognized worldwide authority on religion and spirituality, Asian history, world philosophy, Buddhist science, Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Robert Thurman is an eloquent advocate of the relevance of Buddhist ideas to our daily lives. In doing so, he has become a leading voice of the value of reason, peace and compassion. He was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential Americans and has been profiled by The New York Times and People Magazine.

Thurman travels internationally lecturing to universities, companies, conferences and think tanks. He is a gifted communicator who can make complex concepts understandable introducing challenging ideas with intelligence and humor in a down to earth and comprehensible way.

He reasons passionately that H. H. the Dalai Lama, a true man with no worldly rank, is the most practical leader of world leaders, with principles that must be heeded by them to avert the worst outcomes of our present global crisis: nonviolent dialogue in place of war, environmental restoration in place of consumerist exploitation, inter-religious mutual affirmation in place of ideological competition, hope and determination in place of cynicism and denial. When these are widely implemented, we cannot fail to have a world renaissance of an amazing peace, beauty, compassionate justice, and shared joy!

Isa Gucciardi
Isa Gucciardi holds degrees and certificates in transpersonal psychology, cultural and linguistic anthropology, comparative religion, hypnotherapy, and transformational healing. She has been a dedicated Buddhist practitioner for forty years and has spent over thirty years studying spiritual, therapeutic, and meditative techniques from around the world. Isa has worked with master teachers of Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Sufism, as well as expert shamanic practitioners from a variety of traditions.

Isa is the creator of Depth Hypnosis, a groundbreaking therapeutic model that has won rave reviews from psychotherapeutic and spiritual counselors alike. She is also the Founding Director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, a school for consciousness studies in Berkeley, California. Isa teaches and speaks nationally and internationally, and has published numerous articles, podcast episodes, videos, and the books Coming to Peace and The New Return to the Great Mother. She maintains a private practice with institutions and individuals in Depth Hypnosis and Coming to Peace processes. Isa speaks five languages and has lived in eleven countries. She is the mother of two children and lives with her partner in San Francisco.

Thupten Jinpa
Thupten Jinpa was born in Tibet in 1958. He received his early education and training as a monk at Zongkar Chöde Monastery in South India and later joined the Shartse College of Ganden monastic university, South India, where he received the Geshe Lharam degree. Jinpa also holds B.A. Honors in Western Philosophy and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, both from Cambridge University, UK. Since 1985 he has been the principal English translator to H.H. the Dalai Lama and has translated and edited more than 10 books by the Dalai Lama, including the New York Times bestseller, Ethics for the New Millennium. His own works include numerous contributions to various collections and academic journals, several works in the Tibetan language, and his latest book, A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to be Compassionate Can Transform our Lives.

Currently, Thupten Jinpa is the president of the Institute of Tibetan Classics in Montréal, Canada, and the editor-in-chief of the translation project The Library of Tibetan Classics, being developed by the Institute. He is on the advisory board of various educational and cultural organizations such as the Mind and Life Institute (USA), and he is a Visiting Research Scholar at the Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neurosciences at Stanford University. He lives in Montréal with his wife and two young daughters.

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is an acclaimed author, a highly respected Buddhist teacher, lineage holder of the Bön tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and the founder and spiritual director of Ligmincha International. He is the recognized reincarnation of the famous master Khyung Tul Rinpoche, a renowned meditation master, teacher, scholar and healer who died in the mid-20th century. At the age of eleven, he began Dzogchen training as well as a traditional course of instruction at Bonpo Monastic Center and in 1986 attained the degree of Geshe, the highest academic degree awarded in traditional Tibetan culture.

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche was one of the first to bring the Bön teachings to the West. In 1991 he was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he continued his research into early Bön tantric deities and their relationship to Buddhist traditions in early Buddhist Tibet. Since that time Tenzin Rinpoche has chosen to remain in the West to teach the ancient Bön traditions and founded Ligmincha Institute (now Ligmincha International) in Charlottesville, Va., a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to preserve for future generations the ancient teachings, arts, sciences, language and literature of Tibet and Zhang Zhung.

Lama Tsultrim Allione
Lama Tsultrim Allione is the founder and spiritual director of Tara Mandala, an international teacher, and author of three books, including her latest, Wisdom Rising. Lama Tsultrim’s interest in Tibetan Buddhism began as a teenager and in the early 1970’s she visited Nepal, backpacked across India, encountered Ram Dass and even became Allen Ginsburg’s meditation teacher for a time. At age 22, she took her vows and became the first American ordained by H.H. the 16th Karmapa. She has studied with and received transmissions from many of the great masters of Tibetan Buddhism, including Lama Thupten Yeshe, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Khabje Chatral Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche and Drukpa Thugse Rinpoche.

In 2007, Lama Tsultrim was recognized as an emanation of Machig Labdrön by the resident Lama of Zangri Khangmar (Machig’s monastery in Tibet). Machig Labron is the female Tibetan master (yogini) who founded the Chöd lineage in the 11th Century. In 2009, Lama Tsultrim received the International Outstanding Women in Buddhism Award. Lama Tsultrim resides at her retreat center, Tara Mandala, in Pagossa Springs, Colorado, which she founded to help preserve and pass on the teachings that she has spent over fifty years studying.

Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche
Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche was born to a farming family in Tibet in 1976. He entered the Sowa Monastery at age six and at age eleven went to the Nangzi Bön Monastery where he studied Dzogchen under the tutelage of his uncle. It was around this time that the oracle of Tibet identified Tulku Lobsang as the incarnation of the master teacher, Tulku Nyentse, and at age thirteen he was enthroned in a celebration ceremony at Sowa Monastery as the eighth incarnation of Tulku Nyentse. Tulku Lobsang has received teachings in all of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, including the Gelugpa, Bön, Jonang Kalachakra and the Mahamudra traditions. Since 2000, Tulku Lobsang has been traveling throughout the world giving teachings and lectures in Medicine, Buddhism and Astrology. In March 2002, he established his new center, Nangten Menlang – Buddhist Medical Centre, in northern India.

Geshe Dangsong Namgyal
Geshe Dangsong Namgyal is a Rimé teacher, scholar, author and meditation master. Rimé means embracing all of the schools of Tibetan Bön and other Buddhism. He was born in Tibet and entered the monastery there, beginning his study of Buddhism. After some time, he left Tibet in order to be able to receive the more in-depth teachings available in Nepal and India, studying at Sera Je Monastery and also Bön monasteries of Menri and Triten Norbutse. After 25 years of study and meditation, he achieved his Geshe Degree. His spiritual journey has developed in him an extraordinary depth of knowledge through which he conveys essential teachings and meaning. He is an author of works on Tibetan culture, history and religion and has presented at numerous conferences in Asia, Europe and the U.S. He came to California in 2013 and founded Kunsang Gar Center and teaches Kunsang Gar Wisdom in USA.

Miles Neale
Dr. Miles Neale is among the leading voices of the current generation of Buddhist teachers and a forerunner in the emerging field of contemplative psychotherapy. He is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, international speaker, and faculty member of Tibet House US and Weill Cornell Medical College. Miles is author of Gradual Awakening: The Tibetan Buddhist Path of Becoming Fully Human along with its audio companion of guided meditations, The Gradual Path (Sounds True, 2018) and coeditor of the groundbreaking volume Advances in Contemplative Psychotherapy (Routledge, 2017). He is based in New York City.

Khenpo Pema Wangdak
Khenpo Pema Wangdak was sent to the West in 1982 by His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin, as the first of the younger generation of Tibetan teachers in America from the Sakya School. In 1989 Khenpo Pema founded the Vikramasila Foundation. The Foundation encompasses the Palden Sakya Centers in New York City, Woodstock, NY, Philmont, NY, Englewood, NJ, Springfield, VT, Portland, ME, and Dayton OH. The Palden Sakya Centers offer courses in Tibetan Buddhist studies and meditation. Khenpo Pema is the creator of “Bur Yig”–Tibetan Braille, and the founder of Pema Ts’al (English for Lotus Grove) Schools in Mundgod, India (for Tibetan lay children); Pokhara, Nepal (monastic schools for boys); and Pema Ts’al School in New York City, with a curriculum modeled on that of Sakya College, India. Khenpo Pema was recognized with the title of “Khenpo” by His Holinessthe 41st Sakya Trizin in 2007. He received the distinguished “Ellis Island Medal of Honor” award by the National Ethical Coalition of Organizations in May, 2009 at Ellis Island for his humanitarian work around the world. Khenpo Pema is the first Tibetan ever to have received such an award. Khenpo Pema has been guiding Western students for 35 years, and he continues to travel and teach extensively to Dharma centers around the world.