Polly Banerjee Gallagher, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Stephanie Kindberg, Charles Knapp

Dear Readers,

Over the past year, Windhorse Journal has presented five entries on the topic of TSEWA. The entry you’re now reading will be the sixth. By now, it could be said, we have some kind of fascination with tsewa.

Admittedly, six journal entries examining a Tibetan word is perhaps excessive. Since there are two additional tsewa related entries planned for the near future, it might be a little premature to cry “excessive!” just yet. Let’s instead say that our present fascination with tsewa would be more accurately identified as “inspiration”.

In 2018, Shambhala Publications released Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche’s Training in Tenderness: Buddhist Teachings on TSEWA, the Radical Openness of Heart That Can Change the World. After spending some time with the book, we’ve concluded that the subtitle’s bold-sounding claim is not at all hyperbolic. If you have not already acquired a copy of this book, we encourage you to do so soon. We have posted several sections from the book in past Journal Entries (#009, #024,#036) if you’d like to sample. We’ve also produced podcasts from our conversations about the book with Kongtrul Rinpoche (#010,#025,#037).

Far from some overly-simplistic plea of “can’t-we-just-all-get-along?”, Rinpoche’s presentation of tsewa, the warmth and care that naturally rises in our hearts, is deeply rooted in the ancient wisdom traditions of several streams of Buddhist practice and philosophy. Far from some dogmatic religious tome, Rinpoche’s concerns stand firm and clear in service to address human suffering without agenda or particular affiliation.

Tsewa is your innate human inheritance. It is, at the very least, evidenced by the constant concern we experience for our own well-being. It is further indicated by the strong feelings of care we have for those closest to us. Those feelings of warmth, affection and care go a long way toward sustaining us, but through training and contemplation, everybody we encounter can become the genuine object of our tsewa. The positive effects of caring for just a few people are self-evident. If we can learn to extend that care outward, beyond our most intimate circle, then the positive effects of tsewa become immeasurable.

It is our sincere hope that you find the ideas in this podcast and in Training In Tenderness as convincing, challenging, inspiring and revolutionary as we have.


Michael Velasco