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November 7, 2022 63 min

If you look at social media with its reliance on meme-based psychology, you’d think that the Buddhist approach to life is to not let things get to you - that the true spiritual path helps you rise above such limited, unenlightened human feelings like grief, greed, and resentment. Zen teacher Koshin Paley Ellison is here to tell you that your suffering deserves your attention. 

In this episode we cover: 


  • How an experience of targeted violence shaped Koshin’s childhood, and what it’s taught him about the suffering of others
  • Why it’s healthier to spend time in the “life is suffering” part of the 4 Noble Truths, rather than rushing to the other 3 as solutions
  • How to work with the pain and the suffering in your own life, so that it doesn't fester and cause more harm
  • Why going to the furniture store looking for milk is only going to lead to disappointment
  • Koshin’s new book, Untangled: Walking the Eightfold Path to Clarity, Courage, and Compassion


Notable quotes: 

“That's why those very powerful giants of greed and resentment and delusion are so important. Tell me about how those things affect you, and I’ll tell you how they affect

"Only then can we get really real.” - Koshin Paley Ellison


“You'll never be free until you can be still with your pain.” - Koshin Paley Ellison


“We're in such a habit of managing the feelings instead of naming the experience.” - Megan Devine

About our guest:


Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison is an author, Zen teacher, and Jungian psychotherapist who has devoted his life to the study and application of psychotherapy and Buddhism. Koshin co-founded the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, with his husband Chodo Robert Campbell, to transform the culture of care through contemplative practice by meeting illness, aging, and death with compassion and wisdom.

Koshin’s work has been featured in the New York Times, PBS, and CBS Sunday Morning among other media outlets. His newest book is Untangled: Walking the Eightfold Path to Clarity, Courage, and Compassion.

Additional resources:

Chodo and Koshin joined us in season one of Here After. Listen to that episode here


Learn about the New York Zen Center’s contemplative care program at


Announcement: want to become a grief-informed therapist? Registration is open now for Megan Devine’s 6 month grief care professional program. Details at this link. 

Get in touch:

Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Here After with Megan Devine. Tune in, subscribe, leave a review, send in your questions, and share the show with everyone you know. Together, we can make things better, even when they can’t be made right. 

Follow Here After with Megan Devine on TikTok @hereafterpod 


Have a question, comment, or a topic you’d like us to cover? call us at (323) 643-3768 or visit


For more information, including clinical training and consulting, visit us at


For grief support & education, follow us at @refugeingrief on IG, FB, TW, and @hereafterpod on TT


Check out Megan’s best-selling books - It’s Okay That You're Not Okay and How to Carry What Can’t Be Fixed

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