117 episodes

The Imperfect Buddha podcast has been addressing anti-intellectualism and ideological capture in western Buddhism and spirituality more broadly since its inception. It provides a space for dynamic conversations designed to bring out what is so often hidden and so often despised by critics and intellectuals engaging with contemporary forms of practice. Matthew O’Connell hosts the Imperfect Buddha podcast and writes at The Imperfect Buddha site. Email: imperfectbuddha@outlook.com. Twitter: @imperfectbuddha. Facebook: @imperfectbuddha. Original street art Buddha image by Bristol's Banksy.

The Imperfect Buddha Podcast The Imperfect Buddha Podcast

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.8 • 5 Ratings

The Imperfect Buddha podcast has been addressing anti-intellectualism and ideological capture in western Buddhism and spirituality more broadly since its inception. It provides a space for dynamic conversations designed to bring out what is so often hidden and so often despised by critics and intellectuals engaging with contemporary forms of practice. Matthew O’Connell hosts the Imperfect Buddha podcast and writes at The Imperfect Buddha site. Email: imperfectbuddha@outlook.com. Twitter: @imperfectbuddha. Facebook: @imperfectbuddha. Original street art Buddha image by Bristol's Banksy.

    117 Building the Future Buddha: A Discussion with Jundho Cohen

    117 Building the Future Buddha: A Discussion with Jundho Cohen

    Jundo Cohen is a Zen Buddhist teacher and founder of Treeleaf Zendo, a digital Zen community with members in over 50 countries. He writes on the intersection of Buddhism, ethics, science, and the future of the planet. He resides in Tsukuba, Japan’s “Science City”. He is the author of The Zen Master’s Dance: A Guide to Understanding Dogen and Who You Are in the Universe (Wisdom, 2020), and is co-host of The Zen of Everything podcast.
    In this episode I speak to Jundo about his new book, Building the Future Buddha: The Zen of AI, Genes, Saving the World, and Travel to the Stars (Treeleaf, 2024). The conversation covers a wide range of topics related to the future and Buddhism with some fun utopian thought on the way and some disagreement that makes for an interesting exploration.
    Jundho claims that tomorrow’s technologies will change Buddhism. AI and robotics, bio-engineering and physical enhancements, genetics and nano-implants, virtual reality and new media, medical miracles and manufacturing marvels, extended lifespans and expanded minds will make many of Buddhism’s most fabulous ideals potentially realizable.
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    • 59 min
    116 Making Sense of Yogacara with William Waldron

    116 Making Sense of Yogacara with William Waldron

    Professor William Waldron teaches courses on the South Asian religious traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, Tibetan religion and history, comparative psychologies and philosophies of mind, and theory and method in the study of religion at Middlebury College. His publications focus on the Yogacara school of Indian Buddhism and its dialogue with modern thought. He is the author of Making Sense of Mind Only: Why Yogacara Buddhism Matters (Wisdom Publications, 2023).
    In this conversation, we look at Yogacara thought, idealism, constructivism and the impact on the practitioner and tackle the following;

    Why thinking of Yogacara as Mind Only is deeply problematic

    Why seeing Yogacara as essentially constructivist is more accurate

    Why seeing constructivism in dualistic terms is to miss the point

    Why interdependence is central to Yogacara rather than the doctrine of emptiness

    Why the signature concepts of; the three natures, the storehouse consciousness, and mere perception are liberational and key to understanding Yogacara’s ethics

    Why Madhyamaka became dominant and a mistaken view of Yogacara developed as a consequence

    How the insights of Yogacara can help us to understand concepts of liberation today


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    • 1 hr 27 min
    115 Christian Coseru on Perceiving Reality

    115 Christian Coseru on Perceiving Reality

    What does it mean to perceive and just how capable are we of perceiving reality? This is a core question in the work of Christian Coseru, who is today’s guest. He is the Lightsey Humanities chair and Professor of Philosophy at the College of Charleston. Christian works in the fields of philosophy of mind, phenomenology, and cross-cultural philosophy, especially Indian and Buddhist philosophy in dialogue with Western philosophy and cognitive science.
    He is the author of Perceiving Reality: Consciousness, Intentionality, and Cognition in Buddhist Philosophy (Oxford UP, 2012, pbk 2015), and editor of Reasons and Empty Persons: Mind, Metaphysics, and Morality. Essays in Honor of Mark Siderits (Springer, 2023).
    Christian spent four and a half years in India in the mid 1990s pursuing studies in Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy. While in India, he was affiliated with several research institutes, including the Maha Body Society, the Asiatic Society of Calcutta and the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies.
    We discuss;

    Perceiving Reality and where current ongoing debates are on this immense topic.

    How confident we can be that phenomenological experience of reality is real and accurate.

    Where current theories are on the question of consciousness.

    The social role of cognition and the topic of mediation.

    What he makes of panpsychism andits return and relationship with physicalism.

    How such theories are represented in Buddhism.

    Working definitions of human flourishing and whether they are at all indebted to Buddhism.

    The question of Self, no-self without Buddhism.


    The episode is sponsored by O’Connell Coaching. Music is supplied by Cosmic Link.
    Matthew O'Connell is a life coach and the host of the The Imperfect Buddha podcast. You can find The Imperfect Buddha on Facebook and Twitter (@imperfectbuddha).
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    • 1 hr 18 min
    114 David McMahan on Rethinking Meditation

    114 David McMahan on Rethinking Meditation

    If anything, the Imperfect Buddha Podcast has been a rallying cry for the disruption of the myths that abound in the world of Buddhism and meditation. David L. McMahan professor of religion at Franklin and Marshall College, has been something of a crusader himself, writing a much needed correction to many of the myths in western adoption of Buddhism in his seminal text, The Makings of Buddhist Modernism.
    In our second interview with David, we discuss his newest book, Rethinking Meditation: Buddhist Meditative Practice in Ancient and Modern Worlds (Oxford UP, 2023) continues where Buddhist Modern left off. In this text David wakes readers up to context, and the role it has in the stories western Buddhists have constructed around meditation. As a religious studies professor and historian, David does this through reconstructing the history that has produced many of the ideas that are so prominent today regarding meditation and mindfulness. It’s a fascinating book and we go through key sections and concepts in our discussion.
    This book is well worth your time if you, like us, take a critical approach to practice, results, and claims.
    Apologies to listeners: I had a cold whilst recording this.
    Episode 48. IBP - David L. McMahan on Buddhism, Science, the Humanities, and Modernity
    Matthew O'Connell is a life coach and the host of the The Imperfect Buddha podcast. You can find The Imperfect Buddha on Facebook and Twitter (@imperfectbuddha).
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    • 1 hr 12 min
    113 A.I. and Practice with Stuart Baldwin

    113 A.I. and Practice with Stuart Baldwin

    The technological revolution we are facing today is artificial intelligence. At least this is what we are told. Those doing the telling include tech experts such as Elon Musk, linguist Noam Chomsky, as well as philosophers, politicians and intellectuals of all stripes.
    What are to make of all this and how are we to manage a world experiencing such rapid change as practitioners?
    We explore the role of A.I. and its place in a line of societal change that has serious consequences for all of us. We discuss practice, and thinkers including Guy Debord, Jean Baudrillard, Noam Chomsky and a bunch of contemporary commentators and their thoughts. We look at the big picture of society in turmoil and ask what practices might help us navigate this moment of intense change and disruption. We look at what it means to remain human despite the push to merge ourselves with the spectacle of social media and the calls to become more than human by tech dudes and the emergent forms of Capitalism and their need for us all to discard ever more of our humanity.
    My companion in this episode is the co-founder of the podcast, Stuart Baldwin, who came back for this one off episode. The topic of tech and A.I. is close to his heart and the conversation both captures past glories of earlier episodes and signals a new maturation in our relationship in what we hope will be a stimulating conversation for serious practitioners.
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    • 2 hr 14 min
    112 Wake up! (Part 3) An Antidote to Stupidity in Three Parts

    112 Wake up! (Part 3) An Antidote to Stupidity in Three Parts

    Wake up! Antidote to stupidity in three parts. This is part 3.
    What follows is a three-part series on waking up to non-buddhism as an antidote to stupidity. This is an ambitious project designed to look at a curriculum of items that might be useful to contemporary Buddhist practitioners in order to wake up from some of the traps that have been diagnosed by non-buddhism over the last few years. It constitutes a kind of educational possibility. Combining reflection on key topics and contemplative questions that may be useful for practitioners in thinking a bit deeper and beyond Buddhism about who they are as practitioners.
    The text which can be found over at the non-buddhism and Imperfect Buddha site.
    It has been divided into three parts for this audio version. The first two parts explore the introduction, overview and orientation to practice. The third looks at the series of curriculum items; providing questions for people to play around with.
    The third episode is the longest and if you get something out of the first two, I suggest you listen to it in stages. The contemplative questions are serious ones and can be very fruitful for the curious, intelligently aware practitioner, but need to time to sit with and marinade in.
    There are moments of creativity woven in through the three episodes, and I hope you appreciate them to some degree. And if they bother you that you practice some patience, like the good Buddhist you are!
    Thank you for listening.
    PS. Tricycle Magazine has finally accepted that non-buddhism exists and that it's not going anywhere and publish my introduction to it. Here's the link.
    Matthew O'Connell is a life coach and the host of the The Imperfect Buddha podcast. You can find The Imperfect Buddha on Facebook and Twitter (@imperfectbuddha).
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

wyode ,

Interesting but patriarchal.

It’s mainly men talking and talking about their views on Buddhism. In one episode they dismiss a woman writer who says Buddhism has always been dominated by men. They never explain why they are so dismissive of her. Then there is the comment about “ housekeeping” , that the host doesn’t even know what housekeeping is. Maybe because someone else ( a woman) does it all for him.
The unconscious patriarchal assumptions bordering on false superiority rankles me.

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