Interview with Joel Lesko (Tears of the Buddha: Spirituality & Emotion)





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Published on Feb 15, 2013

Joel Lesko is a long-time meditator and a filmmaker. He set out in this film, Tears of the Buddha: Spiritual and Emotions, to find out what modern Buddhistic, or Advaita, non-dual oriented teachers teach - about spirituality, and specifically about how to orient towards one's inner emotional life on the spiritual path.

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0:00 - 3:15 Ashland, Oregon. Tears of the Buddha introduced. Some spiritual autobiography leading up making of Tears of the Buddha. Importance of paying attention to nondual teachings in relation to how daily life is lived.

3:15 - 5:09 The making of Tears of the Buddha. Does the filmmaker Joel disappear into the self-inquirer in the making of this film?

5:09 - 10:04 How Joel got into filmmaking and how his goals and purpose have changed toward his own investigation. The two major challenges in the making the film.

10:05 - 12:43 What Joel learned about himself from making Tears of the Buddha. What teachers are really saying regarding emotions and how it bears on your life.

12:43 - 14:15 Redefining of enlightenment in terms of embodiment. Karl Renz. Gratitude to the teachers interviewed.

14:15 - 17:28 The scripted versus the personal side of teachers exposed. The sealed-off character of most teachers he interviewed. Gangaji.

17:28 - 19:34 Some people's enlightenment discounts the personal, Joel says. A new public conversation on spirituality and emotion.

19:34 - 21:03 The one teacher who said emotions, rather than consciousness, are intrinsic to life. Daniel Barron. How could enlightenment be redefined?

21:03 - 27:24 Joel's use of the term "Buddhistic" and the nature of the title Terms of the Buddha. What if the essence of our human life is not consciousness? The gnawing feeling in the heart. The validity of emotions.

27:24 - 29:36 Maybe we're here to embrace our woundings rather than dismiss or transcend them.

29:36 - 32:32 Getting personal about facing that gnawing. Psychotherapy. Karl Renz's view on the self and transcendence.

32:32 - 34:04 Nature of teachers as confident. Value of film as a featuring of teachers addressing same questions.

34:04 - 38:43 Joel is asked about what he meant at the end of Tears of the Buddha, as far as what Buddha would teach today and the wholesale transcendence of the person. What if there is something more essential than transcendence of duality? Success as a filmmaker is the raising of questions. The teachers are missing something.

38:43 - 41:51 Is a teacher essential? Questions in that regard. Shadow questions. Looking at emotion rather than transcending. Emotional healing of wounds. Karl Renz and Daniel Barron.

41:51 - 48:29 Tears of the Buddha. Some revelations on making it. Some further comments to enhance the viewing and to clarify the themes.

48:29 - 51:08 Dealing with everyday life. Emotion as just energy moving and what that means for your personal life and looking at the root of what a teacher says regarding emotions.

51:08 - 54:18 Some financial and creative realities on making Tears of the Buddha. Christopher Alexander saying to create something as though it's a "gift to God."

54:18 - 58:00 Transcendental Meditation and some more of Joel's background. The truth of nondual enlightenment and stretching that over daily life as if that's the whole truth, and problems created. Embracing emotional life.

58:00 - 1:00:11 Our conditioning negativizes certain experiences or could avoid them by asking, "Who is asking about negative emotions?"

1:00:11 - 1:06:46 The inquiry of asking what is most essential. Spiritual conditioning saying that emotions are impediments. Listening deeply to the teachers in the film because they tend to use the same words. Staying open. Asking "What if" questions.

1:06:46 - 1:09:36 Teachers conditioning their students. Joel's experience with emotions while studying TM. The split between feeling what you feel and being conditioned to seal off those feelings.

1:09:36 - 1:16:00 Vipassana meditation giving space to emotions and the possibility that this could create a splitting off or a transcendence or a diminishment of experience. Anger. The nature of spirit, heart, and humanity. Depression arising from avoidance of emotion through nondual transcendence.

1:16:00 - 1:20:14 Joel asks about Jerry's background in publicizing nonduality. The nature of nonduality interviews. Jeff Foster's view of emotions. Teachers changing. The apparent fixity of older established teachers.

1:20:14 - 1:25:10 Joel's corporate film work related to education and the workplace. His future film based on Buddhistic questions.

1:25:10 - 1:26:47 Reflections on the interview. The word "Buddhistic" and need to clarify it for people who expect it to be tied to Buddhism.


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