Is enlightenment really possible for people like you and me? Do we lose ourselves when we become enlightened? Are there people on earth who are enlightened right now? Buddhist scholar Dr. Jan Willis answers these questions and more as we explore what enlightenment (or awakening) really means.
Episode 90: What is Enlightenment with Dr. Jan Willis
Dr. Jan Willishas a distinguished career as a scholar and teacher of Buddhism that spans fifty years. She first met Tibetan Buddhists in India and Nepal at age nineteen and went on to earn degrees in Philosophy and Indic and Buddhist Studies from Cornell and Columbia Universities.
Dr. Willis has taught Buddhist Studies and Philosophy at UC Santa Cruz, the University of Virginia and Wesleyan University. Now in retirement, she teaches part-time at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia and leads workshops exploring Race and Racism through a Buddhist Lens.
In her academic and popular books and essays, Dr. Willis writes with moving precision on Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist saints’ lives, Women and Buddhism, and Buddhism and Race. Her latest book is the compelling essay collection Dharma Matters: Women, Race, and Tantra. And her unique personal story is captured in her memoir Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist—One Woman’s Spiritual Journey.