The imperfect Buddha podcast is starting a new year of podcasting and it will have a characteristic uniting almost all of the episodes over the next 12 months. We are taking an academic turn and this is in part being done to counter the anti-intellectualism that continues to linger around the Western Buddhist scene, but also to bring in some experienced, intelligent minds to comment on a wide range of topics that are relevant to practitioners on the front line of meditation and compassionate action. There has been an interesting relationship between the academic field of Buddhist studies and the Dharma hall for quite some time, but perhaps one that has not been fully utilised. We hope to remedy this by bringing in a thorough exploration of current issues in the field, and emerging developments that may be of use to practitioners, some more radical than others. My main interest is to expand the conversation about Western Buddhism beyond Buddhism. Some of our guests are philosophy professors or historians, or have a connection to Buddhism, but practice in other academic fields, and we hope this will enrich the discussions that are to follow.
We hope you will all find these conversations and discussions stimulating and educational, but also entertaining!
This week regular listeners to the podcast will be fortunate enough to get two episodes in a single week. The first will be with Charles S. Prebish, a figure well known in Buddhist studies. Charles has written classic volumes in Buddhist studies such as Luminous Passage: the practice and study of Buddhism in America and masses of articles. He was also a pioneer in the establishment of the study of Western Buddhism. He co-founded the Journal of Buddhist Ethics and the Routledge, Critical Studies in Buddhism Series, and he is emeritus professor at both Utah State University and Pennsylvania State University.
In the podcast Charles talks about his own personal relationship with Buddhist practice and the field of Buddhist studies, how it has developed since its inception to today, the current scandals in Buddhist communities, his experience with a number of prominent Buddhist teachers including Chogyam Trungpa, and some potentially controversial thoughts about the future of this academic field. It seemed appropriate to have Charles on as the first guest as his view of the field is very long and very wide and this serves as a great introduction for what is to come.
Our second podcast episode for the week will be for Incite Seminars with regular guest Glenn Wallis. As per usual, our conversation takes many creative turns, and is longer than the usual Incite seminar podcasts. We discuss the topic of Unlearning, education versus learning, and introducing radical ideas into Dharma halls, and much more. As indicated in the introduction to this podcast, Glenn will be returning soon for a regular podcast discussion of his brand-new book A Critique of Western Buddhism, out now for Bloomsbury. I also intend to write a review of that book here when I find a spare moment.
For those interested in engaging with Glenn directly, his Unlearning Seminar takes place in Philadelphia September 29th and is a must for educators looking to think about educating differently. Click on the link to find out more: Incite Seminars: Unlearning & Radical Education
Here is the Charles S. Prebish episode for all you lovely listeners.