- A conversation in the studio with Ken McLeod, a senior Western translator, author and teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. He received traditional training mainly in the Shangpa-Kagyu lineage, through a long association with his principal teacher Kalu Rinpoche, whom he met in 1970. Under Kalu Rinpoche’s guidance McLeod learned the Tibetan language and completed two, traditional three-year retreats (1976-83). In the years that followed, he traveled and worked with Kalu Rinpoche on various projects and became a prominent translator of Buddhist texts. This includes a landmark translation of The Great Path of Awakening by Jamgon Kongtrul, a key text in the teaching of Lojong (the Seven Points of Mind Training).
In 1985 he settled in Los Angeles to run Kalu Rinpoche’s dharma center. He did so until 1990, when he founded his own organization, Unfettered Mind. He teaches strictly traditional material but is recognized (1) for having pioneered a new teacher-student model, based upon ongoing, one-on-one consultations and upon small teaching groups that have a high degree of teacher-student interaction; and (2) for his “pragmatic” approach to teaching, translation and practice.
The intent of “pragmatic Buddhism” is to preserve the essence of the teachings, unchanged, but to make them more directly accessible to the Westerner. It does so by bypassing the Eastern cultural overlay and using simple, clear language and methods that elicit direct experience in the practitioner. Also, it emphasizes an individualized practice path – with a key element being ongoing practice consults that allow the teacher to shape a path that’s tailored to each practitioner’s specific needs and makeup. McLeod has made this model available for others to use via the Unfettered Mind website, his teacher development program, and his publications – especially in his 2001 book Wake Up To Your Life, which lays out the Buddhist path & practices. His non-traditional commentary on the Heart Sutra, An Arrow to the Heart, presents a way into the material that’s poetic and experiential. His latest book, just published, is titled A Trackless Path, a commentary on the Great Completion (or Dzogchen) teaching of Jigmé Lingpa’s Revelations of Ever-Present Good.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #206 - 19DEC15
The Mystical Positivist is now a weekly radio show on KOWS-LP 107.3 FM, Occidental, CA. Listen live on Saturday evenings from 4:00 - 6:00pm, PST, via the web at KOWS Live Stream.
This week's podcast features:
More information about Ken McLeod's work and interests can be found at: