Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #348 - 25JAN20

This week on the show, Rob and I speak by telephone with Roger R. Jackson, the John W. Nason Professor Emeritus of Asian Studies and Religion at Carleton College in Minnesota, where he taught the religions of South Asia and Tibet. He has published many articles on the philosophy, ritual, meditative practices, and poetry of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, and has written or co-edited several books, including The Wheel of Time: Kalachakra in Context; Is Enlightenment Possible?; Tibetan Literature: Studies in Genre; Buddhist Theology: Critical Reflections by Contemporary Buddhist Scholars; and Tantric Treasures: Three Collections of Mystical Verse from Buddhist India. He latest book is Mind Seeing Mind: Mahamudra and the Geluk Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism from Wisdom Publications. He is also the past editor of the Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies and the Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies.

In this conversation Professor Jackson provides an overview of the Mahamudra tradition in various Tibetan Buddhist traditions and discusses some of the larger questions that have emerged in the Tibetan tradition (as well as many other traditions). Such questions include the nature of negation as it pertains to emptiness, ethics and the Mahamudra, and the role of reason in the practice of Mahamudra. Professor Jackson succeeds in making a very deep and complex topic approachable by the listener.

More information about Roger Jackson's work can be found at:

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #347 - 18JAN20

This week on the show on the show, we speak by telephone with J. Brent Bill, a Quaker minister, retreat leader, writing coach, and photographer. He’s written more than twenty books including Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality, Mind the Light: Learning To See With Spiritual Eyes, Life Lessons from a Bad Quaker: A Humble Stumble Toward Simplicity and Grace, and Finding God in the Verbs: Crafting a Fresh Language of Prayer. Brent has served as a local church pastor, denominational executive, seminary faculty member, and go-cart track operator. He lives on Ploughshares Farm, which is forty acres of former farmland being reclaimed to tall grass prairie and native hardwood forest in Indiana.

His latest book is Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love: Four Essentials for the Abundant Life. "Do you long to live the abundant life that Jesus promised his followers? If so, then you will want to weave the threads of beauty, truth, life, and love into the tapestry of your life. When these essentials are each present in some measure in our relationships, ministries, vocations, and life choices, then we are more likely to find ourselves living a good and abundant life with God."

More information about J. Brent Bill's work can be found at:

Saturday, January 4, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #346 - 04JAN20

This week on the show on the show we present a pre-recorded conversation with Brad Warner about his latest book, Letters to a Dead Friend About Zen. Brad Warner is the founder and head teacher of Angel City Zen Center and Dogen Sangha Los Angeles. He is the author of the popular Hardcore Zen blog as well as several other books on Zen Buddhism including, Hardcore Zen - Punk Rock, Monster Movies, & the Truth About Reality; Sit Down and Shut Up - Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, & Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye; and Don't Be a Jerk - and Other Practical Advice from Dogen, Japan's Greatest Zen Master. He plays bass in the hardcore punk band Zero Defex (0DFx), is the star of the movies Shoplifting From American Apparel and Zombie Bounty Hunter M.D., was director of the film Cleveland’s Screaming! and is a former vice president of the US branch of Tsuburaya Productions, the company founded by the creator of Godzilla.

Brad moved to Japan in 1993 where he began studying Zen with the iconoclastic teacher Gudo Wafu Nishijima. After a few years, Nishijima ordained Brad and made him his dharma successor.

More information about Brad Warner's work can be found at: