Department of Wisdom Traditions Publication

Department of Wisdom Traditions Publication

Give to Naropa
Naropa University

masthead alt text

Welcome to Wisdom Now!

A Message from the Chair, Department of Wisdom Traditions


As I write this Labor Day weekend, which marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall, I’m reminded that this is a time of marking other beginnings and endings.

In terms of faculty, and staff, we’re welcoming new faculty, Ben Williams, and a new graduate advisor, Dave Wolken. Ben, a graduate of Harvard University, will teach yoga and Hinduism classes, travelling most recently from India with his wife Vinaya. Dave, our new graduate advisor, is finishing his doctorate in Mindfulness and Education at Syracuse University, and has studied interfaith dialogue and religion. If you’re on campus, take some time to welcome Ben and Dave in our offices upstairs of the Ginsberg Library.

We have also, sadly, said our good-byes. Sreedevi Bringi, our beloved Hinduism faculty, has retired with a joyous send-off at the end of the spring semester. Lee Fife and Beth Rosenfeld, who hold the Taiji lineage of Bataan and Jane Faigao, have stepped back from teaching on-campus at Naropa, altho they will continue to teach Naropa’s advanced Taiji classes (Levels 3 and beyond) at Rocky Mountain Tai Chi in North Boulder. Gena Cline, our hard-working and knowledgeable graduate advisor, has also retired – but she promises to be “around” on campus.

And last but not least, our faculty have been working over the summer to more clearly articulate our graduate and undergraduate programs. Stay tuned for updates!


Elaine Yuen, PhD

Chair, Department of Wisdom Traditions

Editor, Wisdom NOW 


A message from the Managing Editor, WIsdom Now


Tradition, Innovation, Impermanance, and Context. This issue of Wisdom NOW features a wealth of content exploring these themes. I feel fortunate to present the works contained herein. Sreedevi retires and Ben Williams arrives. Graduate advisor Gina Cline retires and Dave Wolken steps into her role. No one enters the same Department of Wisdom Traditions twice. What can be said of the wisdom traditions themselves?  

One can observe fast moving shifts in the landscape of contemporary wisdom traditions: innovations and resurgences of knowlegde implicit in a tradition as in Zvi Ish-Shalom's Keduma, mindfullness and its varied manifestations in America elucidated by Judith Simmer-Brown.    

This issue features new looks at tradition as in Lama Sarah Harding and her 2013 Tibetan IV class' translation of “Glorious Nāropa’s Life of Liberation and Spiritual Song” [As Told by the Translator Marpa to the Translator Ngok and Son], Ashley Smith and Joshua Merrill's “Alone Together” explores renunciation today and in foundational Buddhism, and in Expanding Reach Taijiquan, Beth Rosenfield describes "Tai Chi Elements" a new approach that she and Lee Fife created for teaching Tai Chi to a much wider segment of the community. As traditions enter new contexts, we require new structres to recognize and endorse professionals. Elaine Yuen brings forth endorsement options for Buddhist Chaplains. 

How do we study wisdom traditions amidst this flow? Francesca Howell examines how one approaches ethnography in a contemplative manner as she reveals her methodology in her study of festival and ritual in northern Italy in “Contemplative Ethnography.”

Please enjoy!  


Michael Kaup

Managing Editor, Wisdom NOW