Ethics and Emptiness

A Conversation with Diane Musho Hamilton

October 24, 2023

Sam speaks with mediator and Zen teacher Diane Musho Hamilton. They discuss Diane’s “powerful confrontation with life and death” as a teenager; her experience studying with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Genpo Roshi; the all-too-frequent disconnect between spiritual insight and ethical behavior; recognizing vs. learning dharma; transmuting vs. relinquishing emotional energy; the growth model vs. the awakening model of personal development; the possibility and promise of stabilizing non-dual insight; the moral importance of conceptual knowledge; psychedelics; meditation instructors vs. conventional gurus; mental states vs. psychological traits; the liability of spiritual teachers as organizational leaders; the power of cultural incentives; and other topics.

Diane Musho Hamilton is an award-winning mediator and a teacher of Zen meditation. She received dharma transmission from Genpo Merzel Roshi in 2006. Diane served as the Director of Dispute Resolution for the Utah Judiciary from 1994-1999, mediating matters ranging from simple neighborhood disputes to complex multi-party negotiations. She is the founder and lead trainer of the Real LIFE Facilitator Program, which certifies practitioners in a developmental approach to group facilitation. She is the author of three books—Everything Is Workable, The Zen of You & Me, and Compassionate Conversations. Her website is