It’s interesting to think that the Imperfect Buddha podcast was really motivated into being by a dearth of critical material on contemporary Buddhism. Some noted academics were putting out books, and papers on Buddhism and philosophy could be found occasionally that made sense to a non-academic audience, but accessible, critical material that connected theory to practice was minimal.
The Buddhist Geeks podcast had taken a sort of technological turn and I found it not at all interesting and soon realised I was listening to no podcasts on Buddhism at all. As I tend to do, due to some character fault or some such thing, I rolled my sleeves up and took care of a need: I assumed that if I was after something more intellectually stimulating and responsive to the obvious problems that were visible in the world of contemporary Buddhism, and spirituality, then there would be other like minded folks out there too.
Roping my old buddy Stuart into the thing was great and I enjoyed our conversations, research and analysis. Since his departure, the podcast has taken various turns and turned some of those turns into happenings: They are the culmination of much thinking, meditation and practice.
Two figures have been on the podcast more often than any other and were in different ways the inspiration for those turns. They are both important figures for me and have helped me along in my own practice immensely (directly, and indirectly). Both gave me a way to reconnect to Buddhism after almost abandoning it entirely ten odd years ago.
It would be easy to consider Hokai Sobol as the practice side of a couple with today’s guest, Glenn Wallis, making up the theoretical member. Anyone who knows these two even a little would know that to be an absurd notion. Both are highly intelligent, deep thinking, practising folks and they have been on the podcast so often because they think differently and are fiercely independent in doing so. Although I have got most of the guests from my wish list on over the years, I would still like to wrestle these two into a conversation on the podcast some day. You never know.
In the meantime, Glenn returns to talk about practice and share his take on the practising life in line with our other guests in this year-long practice season. Is it likely he will be offering advice on how to get your thumbs in the sweet spot for mudra work? No. Is it likely he’ll be sharing his own take on mastering the Jhanas? Nope. But no one would be daft enough to expect that from him. Practice forms are infinite and forever tied to our human condition and it is to those avenues of inquiry that we stroll in our conversation. We discuss the non-buddhism practice group, Incite, and his latest book on Anarchism; a topic I challenge him on.