What is the Imperfect Buddha Podcast on its 100th episode?
The podcast started out with an open mind and curiosity back in 2016, exploring Buddhist cults, dodgy gurus, and anti-intellectualism. Its mission was to look into elements of the western Buddhist landscape that had been ignored and insufficiently critiqued in a manner that was accessible to a general audience. It mixed banter and a questioning ethos to keep the content from descending into mere criticism.
As time went on the pleasure of speaking to intelligent guests, more knowledgeable than ourselves grew. I personally sought out guests I could test my intuitions on and explore thought at the edge. My hope was that others were holders of similar intuitions and questions and the podcast would provide a worthwhile service to them. The feedback over the years has demonstrated this to be the case, though some complaints were inevitable. Taboos often lead to expectations that others see the world the way you do and even good Buddhists can be guilty of religious dysfunction. I would not call them extremists, but some practitioners still believe Buddhism is perfect and you should never say a bad word about it. Ours is obviously not the podcast for them.
Over the years the podcast has developed lines of exploration into the worlds of post-traditional practice and non-practice, and explored non-buddhism. It has looked into innovation in practice and sought to bring the world of the personal, the social and the historical into play. Where possible, humor has remained alive. Though without my old podcast partner Stuart, it has been less ubiquitous. Though some have heard whispers that Stuart will come back on to celebrate the podcast’s centenary. Perhaps he’ll bring a Union Jack to wave and we can have tea and crumpets in the middle of the street somewhere.
The podcast is renewed for 2023
We have three more episodes coming out for Sumeru Books, more Think Pieces including an audio review of A Critique of Western Buddhism to tie in with an upcoming article I have written on the subject for Tricycle.
I will also be taking a new look at Buddhist Tantra. Firstly, with Ken McLeod coming on to discuss his new book, The Magic of Vajrayana, and Simon Cox to introduce us to his academic work The Subtle Body. The plan is to mix academic voices with teachers and see where we end up.
I have returned to practicing this style of Buddhism myself after a few years focusing on other forms and it has been quite wonderful, so the critical shall be there, but also an attempt to appreciate the genuine power in this world of practice.
The latest episode is the 100th. It features a long-form conversation with regular guest Glenn Wallis. He even asks me a few questions at the beginning about the podcast. Throughout, we look at the work of Nietzsche, Buddhist Mysticism, Wokeism and life.
I hope you enjoy it.
Hi Matthew. Great conversation as usual. Happy 100!