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Playlist: Dharma

Compiled By: Nyima Lhamo

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Charlatans and Spiritual Teachers: Who's for Real?

From The Tibet Connection | Part of the Open Mind series | 06:45

The Dalai Lama's former religious assistant and translator gives practical tips on how to spot a fake guru.

Profile_ven_lhakdor_small Geshe Lhakdor, a Tibetan Buddhist monk and the Dalai Lama's former translator and religious assistant, talks about how to tell which spiritual teachers are for real and which are charlatans. With humor and a practical approach, he offers advice on how to avoid ending up following a pseudo-guru. His first piece of advice: Be your own teacher.

"Even when someone goes to buy a horse or a cow, he has to check very carefully by seeing the teeth. If you are really looking for a spiritual teacher, it's much more important than buying a horse or a cow!" he says. "You need to be very careful."

Geshe Lhakdor is currently the director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India.

The Junkie Mind

From The Tibet Connection | Part of the Open Mind series | 07:19

What's the difference between an addict's mind and our own? According to the Buddha, not much… We're all addicted to all kinds of things. So says Venerable Robina Courtin, a fast-talking Buddhist nun from Australia.

Robinacourtin_small Venerable Robina Courtin, a fast-talking Buddhist nun from Australia, is a fireball — a former karate black-belt, she talks tough and fast. This is a fascinating, surprising and very entertaining interview!

We're all like addicts, says Courtin. As she explains it, while we may crave different things (not necessarily drugs or alcohol), from a Buddhist point of view we all share the same fundamental problem: We're driven by the aching, craving need of "the junkie mind."

"It's this non-stop assumption that I must get what I want, and then the second I don't get it: upset, frustration, hurt, anger, fear and all the other drama comes. So we think that's normal life. But Buddha says, 'No, it's mental illness. You're junkies!'"

So how do we deal with our addictive mind? And if we're all addicted, what's it like not to be an addict? It's wonderful, she says, but the steps to get us there are "the toughest job we'll ever do."


From The Tibet Connection | 17:01

Emerging Tibetan Buddhist teacher, the 17th Karmapa makes first historic visit to the US

Karmapasmilingnyc08_small Producer Julie Adler goes to Seattle to bring you this special report on the historic first visit to the West of His Holiness 17th Karmapa, head of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, who is fast becoming the hope for generations new and old of Westerners and Tibetans alike.