Episode Description

Welcome to Dharma Review  – a unique broadcast show for the serious seeker, practitioner, and teacher. This intro episode explains what Dharma Review is and what you can expect by listening and joining in. All are encouraged to play the Intro Show for a full description of Dharma Review. – A lively and challenging show where listeners and viewers are encouraged to participate in examining their own spiritual practices and to meet and engage spiritual practitioners, teachers, and seekers as we all strive to live an awakened, examined, and full life.


Good Morning, Good Day, Good Evening, and Welcome!

You are listening to Dharma Review. The new Web Broadcast show where we talk about what’s relevant to you – the serious spiritual seeker, practitioner, music maker, and all around 21st Century – awakening, and marvelous – human being.

You know, here it’s about 2;30 – 3:00 AM on the West Coast this morning. For those of you who might not be familiar with it – that is the beginning of Brahmamhurta, which is a very sacred time when it is said that the masters are just getting up and beginning their prayers and meditations.

Here at Dharma Review we will have serious discussions about your self, the world we live in, and various traditions and practices. We will endeavor to dive deep along with special guests, of whom you will be able to ask specific questions and get specific answers.

I’m your host and moderator, Yisrael Bisman, so let’s jump right in.

Let me first give some introduction to what Dharma Review is all about. The show is not intended to be a Review Show like a product review show or a software & hardware review show. Oh, we may from time to time touch on some of those things if they are relevant to what we will be talking about – but rather, this is a show about You. Its intention is to help You examine your own Dharma.

What do we mean by Dharma? What is Dharma. Depending on what tradition is speaking about it – you will find various meanings. And if you have Googled it, surely you have found that “There is no single word translation for dharma in western languages”. So, then how are we as westerners to understand when a teacher or yogi talks to us about it?

What does it mean when we hear, “It must be your dharma,” or perhaps, “It’s just your dharma,” or maybe you’ve heard, “You must fulfill your own dharma?”  Once again, let me stress, it depends from within what tradition you are examining the word or hearing about the word. This is an ancient Sanskrit word – which is so full of meaning that it cannot fully be expressed in any other singularity that can be spoken.

Ok, I want to be perfectly clear from the beginning – you must understand that when you embark on a journey that encompasses such ancient concepts as Dharma and languages like Sanskrit, Pali, Aramaic, Hebrew, and any number of indigenous ancient languages – you may find modern language incapable of rendering full comprehension without an examination of the culture which actually generated it. This is precisely, why university and college professors often exhort their students of historical literature to “Be careful not to take things out of context and superimpose your own modern interpretation and limited view upon them.”

This is so important – today more than ever. Precisely because we are living in the information age and along with that comes so much disinformation – sometimes intentionally and sometimes not. This being said – Dharma Review- this show, will always treat our topics and guests with deep respect and when we feel that something is not being made clear – we will ask for more clarity or points of reference to help our listeners and viewers fully understand what is truly being said.

So now, let me clarify something which I feel is paramount to this type of endeavor. For the purpose and intent of this show, Dharma Reviewdharma is being used in the modern context of your custom, your order, your way, your particular path, and your duty in direct relation to your own unique context and practice. In this way, we are including all religions and all spiritual practiceseveryone will be treated with the same respect.

And now that we have clarified – for our purposes – what we mean by dharma, what do I mean to say by using the word “review” in this context? For the purpose of this show – ultimately – we want to look at, discuss, and evaluate our own practices. To review them as it were – with other serious practitioners who might be able to help us – in the vein of acting as spiritual buddies or friends that we can feel and believe have no ulterior motives – other than – to help us better understand ourselves and to progress on our journey.

That’s the personal angle of what we will review. In the broader perspective – we will look at various books and articles. I may just quote from them or read portions of them with you – to assist us in opening up and discussing their merit. With the intent of being truly helpful – we will not shy away from looking at and directing people to safe and helpful resources for further exploration.

This will encompass teachers, centers, and communities both online and in the physical domain. This can take courage and resolve to achieve an honest, straight forward, and “skillful means” approach to source recommendations. This too –  will depend on you, the listening and viewing audience. Your input is important. My hope is that we will have some lively and enlightening conversations.

I want to make it again – perfectly clear from the start – that I shall reserve the right to cut off or bar anyone from this show who does not adhere to this primary rule that– everyone will be treated with the same respect.

There is also a secondary rule – no proselytizing. Uh Oh, now that’s going to be a tough one for some of you. If you violate that rule you will not be asked back as a guest and may also be banned from our discussions.

We will, however, discuss and invite various spiritual leaders, practitioners, teachers, gurus, and lineage holders to be our guests and will be open to your suggestions if you would like us to try and get someone on the show. It is our hope that we will from time to time have an actual panel of guests to address certain specific topics or concerns that you – our listening and viewing audience – have deemed desirable. And of course, maybe some things that I deem desirable, after all, it’s my show!

We will of course be happy to provide contact information for those interested in continued dialogue with any of our guests.

And now that that’s out of the way, A little about me.

Why Me, Why Now?

I’ll tell you just a little because some mystery is always good. So just enough as an introduction – then let’s allow the show – and your own experience of that to define itself – shall we?Because I want the show, as I have said, to be focused on you.

As a youth I was drawn equally into Theatre, Music, and Spirituality – OK I’ll say say it – Religion. A word I don’t really like to use much these days as it has been so colored by this generation of ours. But I was also fond of contemplation – mostly about the stars, the universe, and innovation.

In high school I became an activist for student rights – We just wanted to be heard and treated like adults – then dropped out and joined a religious commune, although not intentionally. Something we may discuss as the show progresses – I traveled the US for two years, then 2 years, all over –  overseas.

I’ve been a firsthand witness to a lot of change – some quite turbulent.

Returning to the States as a rather changed person – the focus was once again on the arts and I became a gallery owner focused on the art of the performing arts. Also as an actor and producer of live theatre.

My religion, my spirituality became a private and secreted affair. I was focused on the inner journey. After seven years, I experienced a huge epiphany – an awakening and a defining moment. Many thanks to some very special friends, I was suddenly able to see very clearly my own actions, motivations, and vulnerabilities. And, also my injurious behaviors – you know the self-centered, self-aggrandizing ones that we learn from our various cultures and our own ego’s need.

I began studying Psychology, Religion, Sociology, and History – I went back to school. I shared what I had experienced and learned – I spoke up and I spoke out – and I got involved again – I also became enamored by and advocated for the computer revolution.

I engaged in institutional religion once again and studied the mystical traditions – once secreted, but at that time, opening up and coming out-of-the-closet, as it were. The dharma that my ethnic tradition entails became my deepest concern at that time.

At some point my practice drew me inward again and I began meeting various practitioners from different traditions. My world expanded and so did my journey. I began cataloging what I came to term truisms – and also people who were true believers – we will talk about these things, so please don’t draw on preconceptions of such common terms as used in some circles. What I mean by true believer may be something very different.

So, I hope you will choose to join me on this journey of discovery as we look at ourselves, explore, attempt to define, and engage – in our own Dharma Review.

And Now

As a prelude of things to come and to illustrate that we are living in this world now – even as we discuss such lofty topics as spiritual practice, transcendence and enlightenment – In the spirit of this inaugural season, I want to review briefly the words of some of our teacher’s and world leaders commenting on the events of these last few months – because it unquestionably does – and should – hold significance for those of us who aspire to living an awakened and examined life.

On second thought – let me save that for the first full episode. Instead I’ll leave you with this – something that came to me late in the night after our recent election.  I’ll leave you with this now:

Twas the night of the Election and all through the Land –

Not a creature was laughing, except for one man!

Some had gone to sleep early, after campaigning for weeks.

Others –  stayed up all night –  with the many News Geeks.

Tabulating, Prognosticating, there was such disbelief –

This couldn’t be happening, was there to be no Relief?

That Man with Orange Hair and a strange Golden Tan,

Was about to be President throughout All the Land.

He had cursed and reviled – so many with such Pain,

Everyone, but Himself he was so quick to Blame!

When people awoke the next morning to see,

No cookies and milk on the mantle there’d Be…

They moaned and they groaned, and raised so much dust –

They would protest for Days, they proclaimed with disgust!

Not Days, but Weeks, maybe Months they’d Protest.

So many were – upset – this was hard to digest.

And Now –

This is the Winter of our Sad Discontent;

Standing Rock to New York City, Seattle to L.A.

Montana to Louisiana, and San Antone to Newport Bay –

Will we let Racism – have its Terrible Way?

The Dawn is Done – The Day Now Lost,

Oh, Sad America,

Is A Fascist – now Boss?