6.1 Imperfect Buddha Podcast: Engaged Buddhism & the apolitical trend


Banksy Buddha

Latest Episode: click here

We’re back! The Imperfect Buddha Podcast’s new episode arrives just in time for the New Year. This time out, we’re exploring Engaged Buddhism and the question of whether to engage or disengage. We discuss how Buddhism could provide tools and practices to support those engaging with the political landscape and activism but also how Buddhism often provides a means for people to hide out from the uncomfortable realities we see around us; the ones that cause endless amounts of collective suffering. We discuss practices that could help individuals and groups wake up from the apolitical stance that is so present in western Buddhist groups and discourse and look at how Engaged Buddhism too often concerns itself with the symptoms of the three institutionalised poisons that David Loy has articulated in his work whilst avoiding a genuine critique of the cause. Ken Knabb helps us on our way as does Loy and we even manage to get in some critique of Stuart’s favourite Buddhist group, Shambhala, as well as one of my least favourite new age capitalists, Eckhart Tolle.There’s plenty of banter and lots of constructive critique and practice suggestions, so jump in and give it a listen.

Happy New Year to one and all.

Show Notes

Engaged Buddhism:


Humanistic Buddhism:


Zen Peacekeepers (Bernie Glassman)



Buddhist Peace Fellowship (Robert Baker Aitken)







David Loy:

What’s Buddhist About Socially Engaged Buddhism:


Ken Knabb

Strong Lessons for Engaged Buddhists


Joe Rogan & ‘Bad Motherfucker’ Abby Martin (An Excellent Snapshot of Current Affairs):

JRE #529: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbM0aCeNGl8

Empire Files – The War on an Idea (Socialism):


Empire Files – The Real House of Saud:


Joe Rogan & Sam Harris:

JRE #543: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8Q6CWv7IXo

Chris Hedges – The Great Unraveling:


Cowspiracy Documentary – The Sustainability Secret:

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV04zyfLyN4

James Tripp – Is the World Fucked Up:





  1. Haven’t listened to this one yet but I always anxiously look forward to that e-mail and it moves to the top of my list! I’m not an activist, but as a recovering academic who has trouble swallowing a lot of what’s out there in Western Buddhism wholeheartedly due to the kind of critiques you highlighted in the Non-Buddhism episode, a focus on exposing the political is very much welcome.


  2. Hi there, in episode 6.1 you mentioned a recent critique of Eckhart Tolle. I’d love the link if you’re able to share? Many thanks. Keep up the great and inspiring discussions. smile emoticon


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