Ken McLeodApr 28, 2023
Ken McLeod on the Magic of Vajrayana
Unfettered Mind Media 2023
“A moving description of a life in practice which goes far beyond text-based ideas of prayer, devotion, guru-connection, or meditation, and most especially of tantric practice." Anne Klein, former Chair of the Department of Religion at Rice University.
A ground-breaking book, The Magic of Vajrayana (Unfettered Mind Media, 2023) opens new doors to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of Vajrayana, one of the most vibrant traditions of mystical practice in the world today. Ken McLeod deploys his considerable skills in translation, teaching, and writing to weave a rich tapestry of the core practices of this tradition and his experience with them. In simple clear English he immerses the reader in the practice of Vajrayana, bridging the gap between classical instruction and idealized descriptions of insights and understandings. Along with two of his previous books, Reflections on Silver River and A Trackless Path, The Magic of Vajrayana completes a trilogy of experiential instruction and guidance in the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism.
As one of the first generation western practitioners and then teacher, Ken is a contemporary of famous teachers across the American, Canadian and British dharma figures. He both shares concerns with them and has made his own way.
He is one of those who have sought to innovate, westernise and explore what happens to Buddhism when it is taken out of a traditional setting. Whether through his Pragmatic Dharma website, or his insistence on finding language that works for those he taught and now writes for, Ken has gone deep into Tibetan Buddhism whilst committing to finding ways to have it speak to westerners: he has in many ways been a key early figure in adapting and westernising Buddhism, specifically Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism from Tibet.
Ken’s latest book, The Magic of Vajrayana, is the topic of our conversation. In discussing it, we look at a variety of topics that relate to the practising life.
- What are magic and faith and what role do they have in the Tantric path.
- Opening to experience and how the path can enable this process.
- The role of power, and the guru.
- How mantras and deities can assist practitioners to wake up.
- The nature and role of reactive patterns and how to counter them.
- The role of language in opening up practices.
- The future of Vajrayana in the West.