This week on the Shakti Hour Podcast, Melanie speaks with Michaela Haas about empowering women through practice with the fierce dakinis.
Michaela Haas, Ph.D., is a reporter, lecturer, and consultant. She is the author of Bouncing Forward, Dakini Power, co-author of Coco Schumann-the Ghetto-Swinger, German translator of Light Comes Through, as well as a contributor to and editor of numerous other books. With a Ph.D. in Asian Studies, Michaela has taught at the University of California Santa Barbara, the University of the West, and other study centers in America and Europe. She is the founder of HAAS live! an international coaching company for media, mindfulness and communication training. Learn more at michaelahaas.com.
Links from this episode: Dakini Power | Shakti Hour Patreon
Dakini Power (Opening) – Michaela shares the inspiration behind writing her first book, Dakini Power. She and Melanie talk about the ways in which the journey of awakening is experienced differently by men and women. They also discuss the need for a stronger representation of female teachers and practitioners in traditionally patriarchal systems of practice.
“It is often said in Tibetan Buddhism that there is no difference between men and women when it comes to the spiritual path, but if that is true – well where are all the female teachers? I met female translators and lots of female students, but on the throne, in the monasteries, they were all male. So I started to seek female teachers out. I found that, of course, they existed, but they were not in the limelight.” – Michaela Haas
Becoming Immersed in Tradition (12:00) – We hear about Michaela’s path to practice Buddhism. She shares the experience of leaving her job in the West and immersing herself in Tibetan Buddhism in Bhutan, Nepal, and India.
“I didn’t really know what was going on with me, I just knew that I had found something worth pursuing and that was more meaningful than my work at the news desk. Fast forward 25 years and I am still a reporter and I write books, but I think it changed my trajectory in a way because I often try to write stories that have meaning and change the world for a better. I try to embody what I have learned in my Buddhist studies in my journalist work.” – Michaela Haas
Becoming Fierce (29:50) – Melanie and Michaela look at the fierce nature of the dakinis and the rigorous tradition of Tibetan Buddhism that they come from. They look at how dakini practice cultivates qualities of directness, courage, wisdom and sharp intellect.
Listen to Lama Tsultrim Allione’s about dakini and mandala practice on Ep. 234 of the Mindrolling Podcast
Heart of Compassion (43:00) – We close with a conversation about the deep level of compassion that lies at the core of Buddhist practice. Michaela talks about the importance of self-compassion and offers advice to women around compassion and staying true to themselves on the spiritual path.
“When I teach loving-kindness people find it quite easy to practice loving-kindness for others, but when we start with loving-kindness for ourselves people have huge problems with that. It can often be much easier to send love and compassion to other people than to send it to ourselves.” – Michaela Haas