Christiana Polites & Justin von Bujdoss: Tenderness, Resilience, and Self-Actualization | Ep. 16

In this unique episode of the Wisdom Keeper Podcast I’m joined by Tibetan medical practitioner Christiana Polites and Vajrayana teacher and author Lama Justin von Bujdoss as we reminisce on our shared experience as students on the Antioch Buddhist Studies Program in Bodhgaya, India during our early twenties, and the ensuing impact it had on our lives and careers. Sit back and enjoy this intimate three-way conversation filled with stories of tenderness, synchronicity, resilience, and self-actualization as we trace how the Dharma seeds of those early days ripened for each of us during the global pandemic and beyond. Nothing is a coincidence; we are all interconnected and on an enduring pilgrimage in search of healing and purpose.

Bio: Christiana Polites received her Bachelor of Arts in the Comparative Study of Religion at Harvard University and has been immersed in Eastern spiritual traditions for over twenty years. She has studied both Tibetan and Chinese Daoist healing arts and received a Masters in Acupuncture from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She has traveled extensively around the world, seeking out authentic living lineages in both the healing and spiritual sciences. In collaboration with her teacher Dr. Nida Chenagtsang, Christiana founded Pure Land Farms in Topanga, California, the Sowa Rigpa Institute of Tibetan Medicine, and Sky Press publishing house. She teaches foundational courses on Tibetan Medicine, yoga and rejuvenation and guides retreats and practices in the Yuthok Nyingthig meditation tradition at Pure Land Farms, online, and internationally.

Lama Justin von Bujdoss is an American vajrayana Buddhist teacher, writer, and the is a co-founder of Bhumisparsha an experimental Buddhist sangha along with Lama Rod Owens. He is the author of Modern Tantric Buddhism: Authenticity and Embodiment in Dharma Practice published by North Atlantic Books, and contributor to Buddhism and Whiteness: Critical Reflections published by Lexington Books. From 2016 until December 2021 Justin served as the Executive Director of Chaplaincy and Staff Wellness for NYC Department of Correction where he also served as Staff Chaplain supervising over 30 chaplains and guided wellness programming for staff. Justin also has professional experience in home hospice and hospital settings as a pastoral caregiver. Lama Justin is currently the chaplain for Hart Island, New York City’s public cemetery. Justin was ordained as a repa, a lay tantric yogin in the tradition of Milarepa, by His Eminence Gyaltsab Rinpoche, one of the heart sons of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa. Lama Justin has presented on Buddhist practice at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, University of Chicago, Wellesley, Columbia University, has been a visiting instructor at Union Theological Seminary, teaches at Pure Land Farms. Justin is passionate about helping to create the conditions for authentic embodied tantric Buddhist spiritual practice in the West. 

Dr. Miles Neale

In this episode Christiana, Lama Justin, and I discuss: • How we all felt ourselves to be misfits in childhood, and how this led to our sense of coming home to Bodhgaya, India in our early twenties. • The nature of the Antioch Buddhist Studies Program and what made it so instrumental in our personal and development. • Stories of tenderness and how teachers and associates alike found a way to open our hearts and speak to our soul. • Each of share how our early experiences in Bodhgaya shaped our professional careers, and how we chose to apply Tibetan Buddhism in unique ways in the world. • Stories of resilience and how dharma practice has offered refuge in times of chaos and uncertainty. • How modernity and technology has impacted our ability to have authentic spiritual experience. • Stories of how the early dharma seeds came full circle and ripened as crucial moments of self-actualization during the global pandemic. • Forecasting the future and working with the uncertainty ahead.