Welcome back to the Imperfect Buddha Podcast. After our lively discussion of theory and practice, we embark on a new series of interviews for all you Imperfect Buddhas. Our first for 2018 features Evan Thompson, professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia, well known for his books “Waking, Being, and Dreaming: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy”, “The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience”, co-authored with the late Francisco Varela, “Mind in Life: biology, phenomenology and the sciences of mind” as well as “Self, No Self?: perspectives from analytical, phenomenological and Indian traditions”. Evan was invited onto the podcast due to his 2016 closing address to the ISCS and what appeared as a critical turn from Evan in the form of a critique of the fetishisation of mindfulness and its co-option for neo-liberal ends. Evan also argued for an embodied view of consciousness in his talk and critiqued the idea, popular in neuroscience work on meditators, that technology such as FMRI can give us a full or accurate picture of mind and an adequate picture of the significance of meditation and other contemplative practices. In his writing, Evan explores cognitive science, phenomenology, the philosophy of mind, and cross-cultural philosophy, especially Buddhist philosophy in dialogue with Western philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Evan has additionally been involved with the Mind and Life institution and its dialogues between scientists and the Dalai Lama.
Happy New Year folks!
Stuart finally makes his return to the Imperfect Buddha podcast in an in-depth discussion of the role theory and practice might play in a post-traditional engagement with Buddhism. This topic was inspired by a recent series of posts on exactly this topic over at the Post-Traditional Buddhism blog.
Our discussion goes critical as Stuart and I take our usual meander down the rabbit hole of taboos, and biting critique of the dysfunctional face of contemporary Western Buddhism.
This may just be our most controversial, critical issue yet! So, start 2018 with a bang and listen in. Any criticisms can be posted at the usual locations: here, Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments section at the blog.