"Modern Masters Of Religion," an interfaith special, set for Sunday, June 29 on CBS

Lama Surya Das, Buddhist scholar and interpreter of Tibetan Buddhism in the west, sat down with us to talk about His Holiness The 16th Karmapa. He told us that Karmapa was the greatest enlightened Lama he ever met. To learn more about Das: http://www.surya.org/

"Modern Masters Of Religion," a CBS Interfaith Special, explores the works and influence of several 20th century voices of varied religions. This special broadcast presents their place is modern religious history and the people they have affected. The program will be broadcast Sunday, June 29 on the CBS Television Network (check local listings).
The leaders featured include Karen Armstrong, a world-renowned religious historian and scholar. She has written A History of GodThe Battle for God, Islam, and Buddha among other books. A former Catholic nun, she speaks about what led her to become a lifelong student of religion. In 2008, she was awarded the $100,000 TED prize and created a global compassion network called the "Charter for Compassion." RCC became an early member of the Charter for Compassion.
Meanwhile, Thomas Merton, a convert to Catholicism, and a Trappist monk is considered one of the greatest American Catholics of the 20th century. Author of 70 books, Merton died in 1968, but his influence and legacy as a writer, mystic and social activist continues to be felt by many. We hear from Fr. James Martin, S.J., who left his secular career to become a priest after watching a documentary on Merton. Martin says, "Something about his life, the look on his face which seems so content and peaceful, really drew me in and made me want to know – what was the secret to this guy's happiness?"
Also featured is His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, who was the leader of the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism and is considered one of its most important masters. Among the followers of the religion, the Karmapa is considered a "living Buddha" who is able to convey all-seeing wisdom and endless compassion. Our program features an interview withLama Surya Das who was a student of His Holiness. Lama Surya is a Western Tibetan Buddhist scholar best known for his book Awakening the Buddha Within. Through personal stories, he talks to us about how he came to meet his teacher and why he considers the Karmapa the greatest enlightened Lama he ever met.
We also speak to Derek Kolleeny, founder and teacher at the Westchester Buddhist Center in New York. Kolleeny first met His Holiness in 1980 during one of three visits the spiritual leader made to the West. Kolleeny shares his experiences as assistant coordinator during the Karmapa's six-month tour, and what impact the Karmapa's presence has had on bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West.
John P. Blessington is the executive producer and Liz Kineke is the producer. In creating the topics and content of this Cultural & Religious Documentary CBS seeks input from the National Council of Churches, the Interfaith Broadcast Commission, and from clergy, scholars and other representatives of each of the religions presented within a program.

Following the June 29 air date, this program may be viewed again at www.cbsnews.com/religion-and-culture. "Like" us onFacebook.com/CBSReligion and follow us on Twitter @CBSReligion.



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