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Unfettered Mind

By Ken McLeod

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Unfettered Mind provides training in direct awareness (e.g., mahamudra and dzogchen in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition) for those whose path lies outside established centers and institutions. The principal teacher is Ken McLeod, translator, author, and executive director of Unfettered Mind. Ken began his training in 1970 with the Tibetan master, the Ven. Kalu Rinpoche. Trained in the Kagyu, Shangpa, and Nyingma traditions of Buddhism in Tibet, he is known for his ability to explain difficult and subtle teachings and how "he distills the nature and purpose of Buddhism to make it accessible for any newcomer without dumbing it down." (PhilCatalfo, Yoga Journal, July 2001). His book, Wake Up to Your Life (published in 2001), provides a comprehensive and accessible approach to practice, from the initial stages of meditation up to the full integration of open awareness into one’s life. The recordings here are a selection of his teaching and retreats over the last several years and cover a wide range of topics: meditation, compassion, emptiness, power, conflict, and presence. Ken’s approach, and the approach at Unfettered Mind, is to create environments of awareness, conditions in which people experience directly what it means to be awake and present in life. His teachings include applications of Buddhist methods to the practicalities of life.

Customer Reviews

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.

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  • Category: Buddhism
  • Language: English

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