Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Mystical Positivist - Radio Show #372 - 28NOV20

This week on The Mystical Positivist, we feature a pre-recorded conversation with Zoketsu Norman Fischer and Ken McLeod framed by two key questions. The first is whether mystics or mystically inclined practitioners have responsibilities to society and the World, and if so, what might those responsibilities be. Out of this question comes an extended exploration of what it means to be a mystic, the nature of the world in which we practice, the distinction between direction and goal in spiritual practice, and spiritual practice as learning how to die.

The second question is of the great spiritual questions, for which ones have we found the answers and for which ones do the questions remain? Out of this comes reflections on the role of questions themselves, the nature of divinity, the mystery of the passage of Time, the impending meeting we all have with Death, and how to prepare for Death as the cessation of all conceptualization.

Zoketsu Norman Fischer is an American poet, writer, and Soto Zen priest, teaching and practicing in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki. He is a Dharma heir of Sojun Mel Weitsman, from whom he received Dharma transmission in 1988. Fischer served as co-abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center from 1995–2000, after which he founded the Everyday Zen Foundation in 2000, a network of Buddhist practice group and related projects in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Fischer has published more than twenty-five books of poetry and non-fiction, as well as numerous poems, essays and articles in Buddhist magazines and poetry journals. His most recent book is The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path.

After learning Tibetan, Ken McLeod translated for his principal teacher, Kalu Rinpoche, and helped to develop Rinpoche’s centers in North America and Europe. In 1985, Kalu Rinpoche authorized Ken to teach and placed him in charge of his Los Angeles center. Faced with the challenges of teaching in a major metropolis, he began exploring different methods and formats for working with students. He moved away from both the teacher-center model and the minister-church model and developed a consultant-client model. Ken is the founder and director of He is the author of Wake Up to Your Life: Discovering the Buddhist Path of Attention, The Great Path of Awakening, An Arrow to the Heart, Reflections on Silver River, and his most recent book, A Trackless Path.

More information about Norman Fischer and Ken McLeod's work can be found at:

Norman Fischer's website:,

Ken McLeod's website: