From Basketball to Buddhism: Jim’s journey

James B. Apple: Stairway to Atiśa (#149)

James B. Apple: Stairway to Atiśa (#149)


This episode of the Wisdom Podcast features James B. Apple, Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Calgary. James’ research focuses upon critical analysis of Mahāyāna sūtras and topics within Indian and Tibetan Buddhist scholasticism. His numerous books and articles include Stairway to NirvāṇaA Stairway taken by the LucidJewels of the Middle WayAtiśa Dīpaṃkara Illuminator of the Awakened Mind, and An Old Tibetan Dunhuang Manuscript of the Avaivartikacakrasūtra.

In this episode, host Daniel Aitken and James discuss

  • how college athletics set James on his path to Buddhism and academia;
  • his investigations into the root of suffering with teachers such as Bhante Gunaratana, Gelek Rinpoche, and Geshe Lhundub Sopa;
  • the unique lineage and views of the highly influential Indian master Atiśa Dīpankara Śrījñāna;
  • fine points of Atiśa’s contemplative Madhyamaka philosophy and emphasis on meditation;
  • Kadampa systems of Tantric practice and the Twenty-One Taras;
  • Atiśa’s Mahamudra lineage and interactions with some of the Mahasiddhas;
  • the secret stages of the path of Dromtonpa;
  • and much more

James Apple, “one of the foremost scholars of Atisha and his works.”

Books My Students Have Written…..

Oh…such fun to brag. Below is a list of books written by my former Senior English students at Salem High School. Can’t say I helped them much, but at least I apparently did no harm.

** Sherri LuceSHS 1978:

Midnight in Legend,

Under the Mistletoe–

Where Her Heart Is

** Ann Branaman,  1986 [Dr. Ann Branaman]  Self and Society, Blackwell Readers

** Tanya Coats Konerman  SHS 1986
Writing Funny

** Jim Apple, SHS 1987, [Dr James Apple, Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada]

Stairway to Nirvana: A Study of the Twenty Samghas Based on the Works of Tsong kha pa  –
Illustrated, March 13, 2008   SUNY Press

Stairway Taken By the Lucid: Tsong Kha Pa’s Study of Noble Beings– January 1, 2013      Raj Publications

Jewels of the Middle Way: The Madhyamaka Legacy of Atisa and His Early Tibetan Followers (22)
(Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism) 
– February 19, 2019    Wisdom Publications

Atisa Dipamkara: Illuminator of the Awakened Mind (Lives of the Masters) – July 23, 2019
Shambala Publications.

An Old Tibetan Dunhuang Manuscript of the AvaivartikacakrasūtraJames B. Apple
Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines. 329 pages. (2021)

** Ron Henderson, SHS 1983  Gardens-Suzhou-Studies-Landscape-Architecture  [Professor Ron Henderson, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Asian Studies at Pennsylvania State University and former Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at Tsinghua University, China

** Justin Harter   SHS 2005

A review of Atisa Dipamkara by Dr. Renee L Ford in Himalaya, Fall 2021

In the Fall 2021 issue of Himalaya, Vol 40, Number 2, pp 159-160,
Renee L Ford published a detailed and illuminating review of Atisa
Dipamkara: Illuminator of the Awakened Mind. 
She succinctly explains
the book’s organization and reviews the concepts and structure.
Dr. Ford is a part-time lecturer at the University of North Carolina
at Wilmington and a project assistant for The Oral History of
Tibetan Studies at the University of Oxford.  The link is below:

Ford 2021 Review of Atiśa Dipamkara Illuminator of the Awakened Mind