EPISODE 37 – Rethinking the Dharma with Lama Rod Owens
In this episode of Creativity, Spirituality & Making a Buck, Lama Rod Owens joins David Nichtern to discuss reimagining the dharma in a way that feels more appropriate for our time.
Lama Rod Owens is a Buddhist minister, author, activist, yoga instructor, queen, and author. His book, Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger, is an LA Times Best Seller. Lama Rod Owens is considered to be one of the leaders of the next generation of Dharma teachers. He has a blend of formal Buddhist training and life experience that gives him a unique ability to understand, relate and engage with those around him in a way that’s spacious and sincere. He invites us all into the cross sections of his life as a black, queer male, born and raised in the South, and heavily influenced by the church and its community. Keep up to date with Lama Rod Owens on his Instagram or sign up for the email list on his website.
From Christianity to Buddhism
Although Lama Rod Owens was raised Christian, it never felt right for him. Growing up as a black male and seeing people suffer, he hard time believing that suffering leads to heaven. When he discovered Buddhism it felt powerful, magical, and mythical. Immediately, he felt committed to the path of Buddhism and Sangha. On his very first retreat he knew he would become a Buddhist teacher. This indescribable familiarity with Buddhism enabled Lama Rod Owens to translate Buddhist teachings for new learners.
“I can re-think Dharma in a way that feels more appropriate for the times” – Lama Rod Owens.
Meeting People Where They Are (22:59)
Lama Rod Owens is a secular mindfulness teacher but he also studies in the tantric ritual of magic. He believes that meeting people where they are gives more people access to teachings that can help us find happiness. He describes how the Bodhisattva doesn’t require people to come to where they are, the Bodhisattva goes to where people are. For Lama Rod Owens, this means being somewhat formless so that he can adapt to a wide demographic of people with diverse needs and beliefs.
“I show up in multiple spaces. I think that comes from this belief, or rather a commitment, to this idea that I just want people to be happy and resourced. That doesn’t mean I want people to be Buddhist, it doesn’t necessarily mean I want people to be meditators. I want people to have access to the resources they need to be well.” – Lama Rod Owens
Innovation of Practice (45:02)
Once one is well versed in the fundamentals of Buddhist practice and philosophy, there is room for adaptation and improvisation. Lama Rod Owens compares this to music. When we stick to one way of playing a song, there is a lot less opportunity for expansion. When we play new ways with an extra chord or new instrument, unexpected beauty occurs.
Interested in Becoming a Certified Mindfulness Teacher?
The Dharma Moon 100-Hour Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training program is led by senior Buddhist teacher David Nichtern and combines practical teaching skills with secular Buddhist philosophy.
Consisting of five immersive online weekend training sessions beginning Saturday, October 1st, 2022, graduates of the training receive a mindfulness meditation teacher certification from Dharma Moon and Tibet House US (The Cultural Center of HH The Dalai Lama).
This teacher training serves as a way to both deepen your own meditation practice and train you to skillfully teach mindfulness meditation to others. It's appropriate for beginners, long time meditators, and anyone seeking to integrate teaching meditation into their existing modalities – such as therapists, teachers, business leaders, coaches, yoga instructors, and health care professionals.
The training will help you develop the confidence, knowledge, and vocabulary to skillfully guide others to experience the transformative benefits of mindfulness practice.
Dharma Moon's Meditation Teacher Training students have gone on to:
- Build careers teaching meditation workshops and classes all over the world
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To get a sense of the Dharma Moon Meditation Teacher Training program, join David Nichtern and special guest Duncan Trussell – comedian, podcaster, longtime meditator, and creator of the acclaimed Netflix animated series, The Midnight Gospel, on Wednesday, August 31st, 2022 from 6pm - 7pm ET for a FREE online session on mindfulness, meditation and the Dharma Moon Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training program.