Episode 51 :: Chris McKenna :: Paradigms

| February 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

Chris McKenna

Author Chris McKenna speaks with us today about his post-apocalyptic Buddhist themed book, Paradigms.

I think it’s fair to say that Buddhism is becoming something of a culturally iconic practice, even in the West. Just about everyone would recognize the Dalai Lama, the once utterly foreign idea of “contemplating your navel” is no longer so foreign. Eastern thought got lots of press with The Beatles, Richard Gere’s following of Vajrayana is well known, and the new Tron movie sequel unabashedly included meditation.

The arts are clearly on board! And though it seems a shelfload of new Buddhist-themed books come out every month these days, we’re not seeing many fantasy Buddhist-themed books. Many of us loved reading Siddhartha, and more recently Ko Un’s Little Pilgrim. Both took their plot lines and scenes directly out of the Buddhist tradition, and have done a wonderful job of it. What we haven’t seen so much of is taking these themes out of their Eastern roots, and placing them squarely in a totally different realm.

Chris McKenna was born in 1983 in Blantyre Scotland. He has a background in computer science having graduated from the University of Strathclyde, and worked for a few years in the programming industry in both Scotland and subsequently in Vienna, Austria. Chris decided to venture out and became an English language teacher in Asia after deciding that sitting behind a computer all day was not for him. Oddly enough, he now spends a lot of time behind his computer writing.

Chris plans to give thirty percent of his proceeds from his new book Paradigms – a fantasy set in a post-apocalyptic Scotland – to Book Aid International, a charity that promotes literacy in developing countries. Chris has recently been teaching English at university in Yokohama, Japan.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice tea. Earl Grey. Hot. I know we’ve done it before, but that was by special request.

:: Discuss this episode ::



“I should be clear, I don’t know anything.” — Chris McKenna




Web Links


Music for This Episode


Chikuzen Shakuhachi Series

The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from the Chikuzen Shakuhachi Series, Volume 1, courtesy of Tai Hei Shakuhachi. The tracks used in this episode are:

  • Track 2 :: Shika no Tone

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Category: Book Reviews, The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science. He has been a meditator since the early 90’s, has been interviewed for Books and Ideas, Mindful Lives, and The Whole Leader podcasts, spoken about mindfulness with various groups including Harvard Humanist Hub, and has written for Elephant Journal and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA’s official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Ted’s background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, where he is the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development.

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