David L. McMahan

Dec 4, 2023

David McMahan on Rethinking Meditation

Oxford University Press 2023

If anything, the Imperfect Buddha Podcast has been a rallying cry for the disruption of the myths that abound in the world of Buddhism and meditation. David L. McMahan professor of religion at Franklin and Marshall College, has been something of a crusader himself, writing a much needed correction to many of the myths in western adoption of Buddhism in his seminal text, The Makings of Buddhist Modernism.

In our second interview with David, we discuss his newest book, Rethinking Meditation: Buddhist Meditative Practice in Ancient and Modern Worlds (Oxford UP, 2023) continues where Buddhist Modern left off. In this text David wakes readers up to context, and the role it has in the stories western Buddhists have constructed around meditation. As a religious studies professor and historian, David does this through reconstructing the history that has produced many of the ideas that are so prominent today regarding meditation and mindfulness. It’s a fascinating book and we go through key sections and concepts in our discussion.

This book is well worth your time if you, like us, take a critical approach to practice, results, and claims.

Apologies to listeners: I had a cold whilst recording this.

Episode 48. IBP - David L. McMahan on Buddhism, Science, the Humanities, and Modernity

Matthew O'Connell is a life coach and the host of the The Imperfect Buddha podcast. You can find The Imperfect Buddha on Facebook and Twitter (@imperfectbuddha).

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Matthew O'Connell

Matthew O'Connell is a life coach and the host of the The Imperfect Buddha podcast. You can find The Imperfect Buddha on Facebook and Twitter (@imperfectbuddha).


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