Buddha’s Map: Wisdom for Today’s World with Peter Coyote

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Buddha was a revolutionary and he left us with a map of how to effectively live our lives with skillful means. He gave us wise words for effective living through the Four Noble Truths, The Eightfold Path, and the Thirteen Precepts. Here Coyote expands on the concept of "life is suffering" to mean life's afflictions cannot be avoided. Stuff happens. However, we can contain our response to those afflictions through our meditation practice. He also encourages us to be active in the world and to contribute to the good while being aware of the unintentional negative consequences of our actions. He encourages us to acknowledge the darker side of our nature so that through that awareness we might better contain it. He reminds us of the RAIN process as created by Teah Strozier: R-recognize; A-acceptance, I-investigate, N-not identify. Ultimately Buddhism can help us towards better ways of living together that are sustainable, democratic, and include justice for all. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)



Peter Coyote is a master of many crafts, including being an award-winning actor, improv teacher, author, director, screenwriter, and narrator who has worked with some of the world's most distinguished filmmakers, including Ken Burns. He's won several Emmys for his narration and was ordained as a Zen priest in 2011. In 2015, he received transmission from his teacher making him an independent Zen teacher.


Peter Coyote’s books include:


  •  The Rainman’s Third Cure: An Irregular Education (Counterpoint 1998/2015)
  •  Sleeping Where I Fall: A Chronicle (Counterpoint 2015)
  • Tongue of a Crow: A Book of Poetry (Four Way Books 2021)
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Meet Buddha: Masks, Meditation & Improvised Play to Induce Liberated States (Inner Traditions 2021)
  •  Zen in the Vernacular: Things As It Is (Inner Traditions 2024) 

To learn more about the work of Peter Coyote go to www.petercoyote.com.



Topics explored in this dialogue include:


  •  What was Coyote’s path to Buddhism
  •  How most Buddhist sects were established and refined under the protection of local political systems including monarchies
  • How American Buddhism was liberated from state or royal control
  •  How the phrase Life is Suffering can be better translated as affliction happens in life
  •  What is meant by Buddha Nature
  • What is the importance of the quote by David Harris, “Values that are not expressed in action don’t exist”
  • Why it is important to pick up your piece to add to the good to the world
  •  How the practice of the precepts of Buddhism contribute to a more sustainable, democratic, and just world for all


Host: Justine Willis Toms    Interview Date: 5/3/2024   Program Number: 3816


Music Playlist

From Album: Music for Zen Meditation
Artist: Tony Scott

Opening Essay: Track 06 Za Zen (Meditation)
Music Break 1: Track 06 Za Zen (cont)
Music Break 2: Track 05 To Drift Like Clouds
Music Break 3: Track 09 Satori (Enlightenment)