The host of Luminous Mind is Rita Frizzell, a long-time student of eastern and western spiritual traditions and the nature of experience. She holds a degree in Religious Education, minors in Bible and Psychology, from TN Temple University.
Her education was the perfect training for being a minister's wife and she looked forward to a lifetime of teaching and serving others alongside her husband. The rug was pulled out when, after five years, her husband started realizing he was gay. In the journey that ensued, she found she needed to open more and more to life's mystery in order to make sense of her experience.
In the early '90s she trained extensively with Landmark Education, a global leader in the field of training and development. The programs of Landmark Education are designed to bring about a fundamental shift or transformation in what is possible in people's lives. This is where Rita first encountered teachings on emptiness and was so moved that she relocated to Atlanta for several years of leadership training. She was eventually authorized to lead seminars and coach students on implementing the views of emptiness and possibility in everyday life.
In 1995, Rita first encountered Buddhism through a dissertation on the nature of experience by her friend, John Casey, PhD. In it, he compared the views of 5th century Indian Buddhist scholar Vasubhandu with modern process philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. When she saw that Buddhism had a view of emptiness, she was surprised and intrigued to learn more. The more she studied, the more impressed she became with the relevance of the teachings for anyone, regardless of background. In many ways, John was her first teacher, helping her figure out what books to read and how to integrate the teachings in daily life.
Soon after, she met the wise and compassionate Tibetan Lamas who would become her teachers in the traditional methods of Vajrayana Buddhism. Five years later they asked her to train to teach Buddhism to beginners, a study she continues to this day. She has a special interest in Buddhist philosophy, having completed six years of her teachers' week-long Shedra (philosophical school) and studied with Namdroling Montana's Cyber Shedra. She is now studying with Ken McLeod, a westerner who received his teaching credentials from HH Kalu Rinpoche many years ago, and has distilled the teachings in a way to make them immediately relevant and usable in one's daily life.
Rita does not claim authorization or lineage teaching credentials in any school of Buddhism. Rather, she is an avid student who loves the dharma and studies both broadly and deeply. If she has a talent, it is in bringing together resources to create conditions for students to learn.
Rita has also studied in the Raja and Kriya Yoga traditions of India. She is engaged in Interfaith Dialogue in Nashville and is a board member of the Nashville Buddhist Festival and an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church. By occupation, she is a self-employed graphic designer, and has been pleased to design many dharma books as well as a conference with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
To read about the inspiration behind the creation of Luminous Mind, click here.
This is the true joy in life,
the being used for a purpose
recognized by yourself as a mighty one;
the being a force of nature
instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances
complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community
and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
I want to be thoroughly used up when I die,
for the harder I work the more I live.
I rejoice in life for its own sake.
Life is no “brief candle” to me.
It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment,
and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible
before handing it on to future generations.
– George Bernard Shaw from Man and Superman, Dedicatory Letter