By Ken McLeod
To listen to an audio podcast, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to download and subscribe to podcasts.
Through Ken McLeod, its principal teacher, Unfettered Mind provides spiritual practitioners with the essence of Buddhist practice. Ken is noted for his ability to present profound teachings and practices in clear straightforward language free from the myths and cultural overlays that make many Eastern teachings difficult to understand. The podcasts you see below are a small sample of the over 300 recordings freely available at unfetteredmind.org/podcast. Visit our website to see the entire collection as well as dozens of original articles, translations of Buddhist texts and transcriptions of many of these talks.
||Stress and Peace||How can I have all these stories going on and be at peace at the same time? From Surviving Stressful Times 1.||7/11/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||Reflection on Ethics||Function of Buddhist ethics; descriptive v. prescriptive. Excerpt from Mahayana Mind Training 7.||6/27/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||Overcoming Inertia||Identifying what you want to do and what prevents you from doing it. From Making Things Happen 1.||6/20/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||Understanding Form is Emptiness||What is meant by 'form is emptiness, emptiness is form.' Excerpt from Heart Sutra Workshop 3.||6/13/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||Antidotes For Different Notions of Self||Different maps for different notions of self, tbe 5 skandas. From Heart Sutra Workshop 2.||6/6/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||Living Without Beliefs||Living life without a belief system. Karma as the evolution of action. From Awakening From Belief 2.||5/29/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||How To Practice Right View and Intention||Bringing attention to how you view things and bringing attention to intention. From The Eightfold Path 1.||5/10/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||Devotion||How devotion reveals internal material, the difference between faith and belief, the three types of faith and how they transform the three poisons. The Guru Yoga Prayer referenced near the conclusion can be found on our website. This excerpt is from the Guru, Diety, Protector series.||5/2/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||How To Practice Right Speech and Action||Bringing attention into the act of speaking, listening to the sound of your own voice when you speak; bringing attention into the experience of action which leads to a relationship with power and makes action more effective. From The Eightfold Path 1.||4/26/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||Practice and The Four Immeasurables||The context for the four immeasurables in Buddhist practice, how they differ from other emotions including their power to transform ordinary experience into presence||4/11/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||How To Meditate Like The Buddha||In the Heart Sutra, at a gathering of bodhisattvas and monastics, Buddha is said to enter an absorption call Profound Radiance. This excerpt from UM's Heart Sutra Workshop series describes Profound Radiance, has a brief guided meditation which provides an experiential understanding of the absorption, and identifies three of the things you'll need to make it possible.||3/29/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||Heartbreak and Suffering||A meditation on compassion leads to a discussion on heartbreak, the movement of energy, and being present in the suffering of others.||3/16/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||How to Practice Right Livelihood||Right livelihood is to bring attention to how you provide for life; livelihood in terms of how we interact with others around earning our living||3/1/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts - Awakening Mind||A discussion on the two aspects of awakening mind and how it provides insight into the nature of experience and guidance in responding to what arises in life.||1/4/2016||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts - Sitting In The Mess||Learning to sit in the mess; the correlation between mind and experience; discussion of the mind-training principle: “Rely on the principal witness”||12/15/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts - What To Do When A Thought Arises (talk/Q&A)||Working with meditation instructions 'Look, and as soon as a thought arises, relax' and 'Let the mind settle naturally. Don't control it. Just recognize it.'||12/7/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts - Living A Life That Supports Practice (talk/Q&A)||How to live in a way that supports spiritual practice; time, energy, attention.||11/29/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts - Why are we here? (talk/Q&A)||Why is it so important, listening to your heart, the faith to doubt, opening to the body, intention.||11/22/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts - Buddhist concepts (talk / Q&A)||A discussion on Buddhism and creativity, questions on reincarnation, mind having no beginning, and equanimity and manipulation.||10/25/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts: Working with patterns (talk / Q&A)||Questions on the mind of the body and patterned tendency, keeping practice alive, and where do released reactive patterns go.||10/12/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts: Self and No-self 2||Questions on what is being referred to when using the word 'me' if there is no=self and reconciling non selfhood with ordinary friendship and love.||10/12/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts: Thoughts (talk / Q&A)||Questions on being an observer of one's thoughts, mind training and flattening thoughts||9/28/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts: The heart and emotions (talk / Q&A)||Questions on working with the feelings that accompany an open heart, being true to both your heart and mind, working with emotions.||9/13/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts: Emotional Reactivity II (talk / Q&A)||Questions on working with emotions as they arise, resistance to practice, nightmares, and fear of dying.||8/29/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts: Buddhist schools and retreats (talk/Q&A)||A brief history of the different traditions, questions on whether one tradition is better than another and what are the benefits to doing a three-year retreat.||8/25/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts: Practice Variations||Questions on meditation variations and intention, which form of meditation is recommended, using sounds or music during meditation, and interacting with people as a type of practice.||7/26/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts: Mantra Practice (talk/Q&A)||An introduction to mantra practice from A Trackless Path 12, working with thoughts when chanting, how to approach mantra practice, sounds and mantra practice.||7/6/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts: Emotions & Energy (talk/Q&A)||A discussion of energy transformation practices, questions on the four immeasurables, experiencing regret. and loss of energy during meditation.||7/1/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Nuts & Bolts: Sangha & Teaching (talk/Q&A)||A discussion on spiritual organizations, questions on attachement to leadership, sangha and social life, and whether mediation practice is a path to teaching.||7/1/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
My favorite Buddhist podcast
I find Ken McLeod's teachings and his way of working with students extremely inspiring and useful. He has clearly reflected deeply on the teachings he received from his Tibetan teachers and has reframed then in ways that reveal new levels of meaning. Unafraid of challenging the common translations of Sanskrit and Tibetan terms, he communicates in a way that makes the traditional practices immediately relevant in experience. The interactions recorded from retreats and classes are often quite profound and have helped me to approach my own practice more deeply.
This is it
These podcasts deliver the experience, the "knowing," vs. the conceptual understanding of the meditative states at the core of Buddhist awakening. This difference, which Ken harps on repeatedly, is analogous to the difference between knowing how to swim and having the theoretical understanding of the same. Only one is helpful if your boat is sinking, like ours is. Ken (everybody calls him Ken on these tapes) translated for the eminent Kalu Rinpoche and brought the definitive volume on Mind Training THE GREAT PATH OF AWAKENING to the West. The classes and retreats these podcasts are drawn from perform another, equally remarkable translation. They bringing the insular, self-referential Tibetan traditions into the individualistic, wide open context of us here and now. From this perspective, many of the things that have stymied me seem to be cultural formulations fit for Tibetans. Ken has extracted the essence and distilled them into versions I get. I also get a lot out of just his clarification of translation points (like what "self-liberating thoughts" means, for example), and again, the actual experience of the "shift," and coaching in staying in the recognition of simple emptiness and clarity. "Knowing" as opposed to thinking. A little spark is worth more than a lot of discussion on what fires look like. This is really, really good.
Waking up is hard to do
"If it wasn't, we wouldn't be here", says Ken in one of his retreat recordings. Ken's ability to address the practical everyday concerns of his students with insight and kindness is quite remarkable. A guiding and powerful voice of reason in buddhist practice. Deconstruct the reactive mind incrementally through the pragmatism of a truly western Buddhist practice. Ordered his book after a single podcast, you will too.