Q: Who is Ryu Cope (The Bad Buddha)?
That would be me. I’m a creative, spiritual type who has been a frustrated Buddhist for quite a while. I believe strongly in the Middle Way and the pragmatic teachings of the Buddha. I don’t believe in the importance given to the confusing messages that have been added to the Buddha’s words over the past twenty-six centuries — karma, reincarnation, transmigration, enlightenment as an “escape” of anything, etc.

I’m also an ex-stand-up comedian, so don’t take anything I say too seriously. Including the previous comment. So there, nyah!

For more about me, check out my personal website and blog at www.ryucope.com.

Q: Why “Bad” Buddhism?
Because it is my feeling that modern Buddhism has gotten lost in a quagmire of “feelgood” babble and spiritual mumbo-jumbo. To me, the teachings of the Buddha were about reality and practicality — not “infinite love and compassion for all things” and “escaping the wheel of rebirth”. I believe that the practical, no-nonsense Buddhism I espouse makes me a “bad” Buddhist in the light of what is generally accepted as modern Buddhism by society at large.

Q: Are you a Buddhist monk?
Nope. I’m just this guy, you know?

Q: Then what makes you such an expert on Buddhism?
Absolutely nothing. The Buddha himself was special only in that he considered himself “awake”. I’m trying to wake up, too. And if what wakes me up can help others wake up, then awesome sauce! For me, waking up also means waking up from the metaphysical sleepiness that seems to have taken over the Buddhist world (at least the stuff I see in the States).

Q: Why do you call yourself the Bad Buddha? Isn’t that pretty egotistical?
The Buddha is in everyone, not just “special” people with some form of gift or magical birthright. The Buddha in me just happens to be a bad one. Not to mention, when you’re doing a podcast “Bad Buddha” is easier to say than “Bad Buddhist”. It just sounds nicer and rolls off the tongue better!

Q: Can I burn copies of your podcasts onto CD and then sell them?
Uh, NO! That’s Copyright infringement, which is a criminal offense punishable by law. Since the podcast and website actually cost me money to make and maintain, I hope to someday maybe get my own radio show, or at least some paid speaking engagements at colleges or seminars or something, to help support everything.

Q: What’s with the funky gear-looking thingie?
That would be the Burning Wheel. The typical “religious” symbol for Buddhism is a wheel that looks something like a ship’s wheel. It’s supposed to symbolize the “greater” and “lesser” vehicles (Mahayana and Hinayana [also called Theravada]) of Buddhism with all the spokes symbolizing all the different paths. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, Buddhism has picked up more and more snow, as well as dirt, rocks, leaves, sticks and other unnecessary stuff. The pure core of Buddhism has become hidden behind all these layers. I’m setting the wheel on fire to melt away all those accumulations of the Buddhist wheel, leaving behind the simple teachings of the infinitely practical Buddha. In short, the Burning Wheel symbolizes the burning of the Buddhist wheel as my “bad” act of rebellion against pointless dogma, needless teachings and nonsensical metaphysics. The flames represent the fire of knowledge, the warmth of enlightenment and the light of reason while the wheel of Buddhism is cleared of the many spokes that cover its simplicity. Plus, it just plain looks cool!

Q: What’s your RSS feed?
The Bad Buddhist Radio RSS feed can be found at www.badbuddhistradio.com/rc_bbr.rss