Ron Purser interviewed me for his 60 minute Mindful Cranks podcast in July 2020.
Professor of Management in the College of Business at San Francisco State University, Ron is the author of McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality. Dr. Purser is an ordained Zen Dharma Teacher in the Korean Zen Taego order of Buddhism.
After I provided a short bio at the start of the podcast, Ron raised various questions. He read recently a copy of my recent book The Political Buddha (ISBN 978-0-244-08246-8. 234 pages) drawing from themes in the book. Here is a brief summary of his questions that might be of interest to listeners on his podcast.
- What is Inquiry?
- Why do you say Dharma and capitalism are incompatible?
- What’s was the Buddha’s position on wealth?
- You said the Buddha challenged kings, dictators and military rulers. What do the discourses have to say on that?
- You make a case for censuring and holding politicians accountable when causing suffering to others. Do comment on this
- You said the Buddha never confined his teachings to mindfulness for monks and nuns.
- Why are many Buddhists passive and apolitical?
- You challenge the view that you must first work on yourself to make external changes. What do you mean?
- You point out that the Buddha rarely mentioned all five precepts together (not killing, not stealling, not engaging in sexual abuse, not lying, not abusing alcohol/drugs. Why is that?
- The discourses (containing the Buddha’s teachings) translate sila as ethics and as virtue? Why is that?
- What is morality?
- You point out that Western mindfulness practices neglect explicit reference to ethics. Why is it important to refer to mindfulness of ethics?
- What is the problem in restricting teachings to mindfulness?
- You are critical of teachings about Being in the Now, Oneness or Being. What is your concern?
- You encourage mindfulness teachers to ask in corporate workshops if any aspect of the business causes harm and suffering in its outcome. Comment on this.
- You compare GM food with Genetically Modified mindfulness/spirituality. Say more.
- The corporate world seems to be run like the caste system. What are the similarities?
- Can mindfulness practices change corporations?
- Why do you express concern about self-help, self-compassion and self-acceptance?
- I am going to ask you a difficult question: What is your vision and hope for Dharma in the West?