The Mindful Cranks broadly explores the cultural translation of Buddhism in the West, various facets of Buddhist modernism, and the mainstreaming of mindfulness in secular contexts. The podcast serves as a forum for voices that go beyond the dominant narratives which have been thus far uncritical of consumerism, medicalization, psychologization, corporatization and self-help approaches. Drawing from a wide range of disciplines — the humanities, philosophy, cultural studies, education, critical pyschology, religious studies, and sociology—The Mindful Cranks welcomes new conversations that challenge the priviledging of scientific materialism, methodological individualism, reductionism, and neoliberalism. Our guests are leading edge scholars, authors, teachers, practitioners and activists that share a mutual interest in civic mindfulness and socially engaged contemplative methods. A wide range of diverse perspectives–including critical theory, critical pedagogy, ethnography, Foucauldian governmentality, feminism, hermeneutics, critical race theory, critical management studies, socially engaged Buddhism, political economy–provide the “cranky” intellectual tools for socially engaged contemplative change.
Check out our new trailer for The Mindful Cranks!
Kathleen Gregory - Mindfulness as Psychological Redemption
In Episode 37, I spoke with Kathleen Gregory about her chapter “The Modern Mindfulness Movement and the Search for Psychological Redemption” recently published in Richard Payne’s new edited volume, Secularizing Buddhism (Shambala Publications, 2021).
Richard Payne: Secularizing Buddhism
Richard Payne is the Yehan Numata Professor of Japanese Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California and the Graduate Theological Union. I spoke with Richard about his new edited volume, Secularizing Buddhism: New Perspectives on a Dynamic Tradition, just published by Shambala.
Sarah Shaw: The Varieties of Mindfulness
In this episode I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Sarah Shaw, who is an Honorary fellow of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies; and lecturer for the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education. We spoke about her new book, Mindfulness: Where It Comes From and What It Means – published in paperback by Shambala.
Gregory Kramer: A Whole-Life Path
In this episode, I was fortunate to speak to Gregory Kramer, founding teacher of the Insight Dialogue Community and author of a new book: A Whole-Life Path: A Lay Buddhist’s Guide to Crafting a Dharma-Infused Life. I explore with Gregory how he came to a pragmatic understanding and creative application of the Eight Fold Noble Path into his daily life.
Daniel Simpson: The Truth of Yoga
I spoke with Daniel Simpson about his new book, The Truth of Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Yoga’s History, Texts, Philosophy, and Practices, North Point Press. We dive deep into the complex and patchy history of Yoga, from early, classical and hatha yoga – to observations on modern yoga, including whether Silent Disco Yoga is a thing!
Daniel Simpson teaches yoga philosophy at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. He earned his Master's degree from SOAS and his undergraduate degree from Cambridge.
I’m a licensed family therapist, systemic thinker, and have been learning about mindfulness meditation for years. This podcast has opened my mind to so many aspects of mindfulness and modern culture. It has made me a better therapist by helping me expand my understanding of systemic issues and the need to allow ourselves to be relational beings concerned with the needs of others.
Buy a microphone and widen your lens
These are really smart guys tackling some of the most important issues in western Buddhism. Sadly their podcast is recorded through a tin can and string and nearly every episode is about how Buddhists need to be more socially engaged, which is important but it’s the same conversation over and over again. The guests also leave something to be desired—hard to say what, it seems like they’re all obscure insiders in the subculture of Whole Foods Buddhists. Great potential here, will check back in a few months and resubscribe if they try a little harder.