Alligator Preserves Episode 9: A Visit with Ken McLeod

Are you listening? Am I listening? Do we even know how to listen anymore?

Ken gave permission to use this portrait illustration by Ian McKown from a photograph by Ann Braun (on a page at

Laurel’s visit with Buddhist practice teacher Ken McLeod, a peaceable man in a turbulent world, will provide you with glimpses of different ways to live your lives.

Now retired, but still publishing books on Eastern philosophies for Western minds, Ken talks about his own journey and offers suggestions for listeners.

[and his voice alone will leave you feeling more peaceful!]

Show Notes:

  • Ken McLeod has taught and translated Buddhist practice in the Los Angeles area and has authored several books about his experiences with Buddhist practices.
  • He discusses the far-reaching impact of the California wildfires.
  • His principal teacher, Kalu Rinpoche, and acting as his interpreter.
  • His early family experiences with religion.
  • How he became a teacher, though he didn’t feel prepared.
  • Teaching in the ’80s in the challenging environment in L.A.
  • Ideas on success and being an “expert.”
  • The intention of Buddhist practice and the freedom that comes with it.
  • Wake Up To Your Life: Discovering the Buddhist Path of Attention is his first book, release in 2002. I quote from the book’s description, “The key to becoming fully alive and joyful is to develop our natural capacity for attention and to be fully present here and now.”
  • How Ken completed his first book and his next,
  • Reflections on Silver River in 2014.
  • Discussion on “freedom, peace and understanding” and a different way to live. Are we evolving?
  • The Thirty-Seven Practices of the Bodhisattvas
  • “The world is not designed to support the life worth living.”
  • Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene
  • His thoughts about The Power of Now, 2004, by Eckhart Tolle.
  • Is ignorance bliss?
  • Suggestion for listeners: One practice you can do now.
  • What’s next? His new work with Vajrayana.
  • Next  Episode: A homeless woman who gave me an unforgettable gift.


Other works we discussed:

The Mission (movie)

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: First Complete Translation (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

The Three Pillars of Zen, 25th Anniversary Updated and Revised Edition

The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas: An Oral Teaching

The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary Edition (Oxford Landmark Science)

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

I have a correction to make from my last episode in which I told you about the prestigious 2018 CIPA EVVY Awards. The website for more information is at, not .org, and here’s a reminder to submit your books before March 16th for early bird savings!

If you enjoyed this and other episodes, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! Perhaps you’ll even help support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.

By author

Laurel lives and laughs and publishes and podcasts in Colorado's Rocky Mountains! She has published several multi-genre books and hosts the podcast "Alligator Preserves," where she interviews fascinating people, talks about the human condition, and shares scary stories from her "Dark Ebb" collection.

2 replies on “Alligator Preserves Episode 9: A Visit with Ken McLeod”

I really enjoyed your excellent podcast interview with Ken McLeod. I also love the music played briefly at the beginning and the end of the interview. Could you please let me know the name of the group/artist/music? I tried clicking the link provided to music but it did not let me know any information. Thank you! Colleen

Hello, Colleen, and thanks for visiting!
I purchased the license for my intro/outro music from Jamendo. This particular artist is “Joystock” and the title of the piece is called “The Big Percussions.” I love percussion!

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