Geshe Wangyal: America's First Lama

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In this episode of Tricycle Talks, two Tricycle contributors—David Urubshurow and international political consultant Joel McCleary—speak to associate editor Alex Caring-Lobel about their teacher, Geshe Wangyal, America's first lama. Politicized at a young age in Soviet Russia, Geshe Wangyal immigrated to New Jersey to develop the telecode for the CIA that would aid the Dalai Lama's escape from Tibet, work to lift political proscriptions on US visits by the Dalai Lama, and train, after the Tibetan resistance, the first generation of Tibetan Buddhist scholars in America. The story of how Tibetan Buddhism first came to the West is a little-known slice of Americana that brings together Cold War intrigue, Buddhist philosophy, and the Gong Show.

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