Roshi Jundo Cohen on Zen, AI, Transhumanism and Saving the World

Many of you know that I am a fan of Buddhism in general and Zen Buddhism in particular. So I’ve always wanted to get a Zen Master on the podcast. I never imagined, however, that there is a Zen Master who has listened to almost every episode of my show. But the universe is a weird place and it turns out there is such a person.

Roshi Jundo is a former Newyorker, lawyer, husband, father of 2, cancer survivor, and Japanese Soto Zen Master. He is the founder of the Treeleaf Sangha and co-host of the Zen of Everything Podcast. Jundo is also the author of The Zen Master’s Dance: A Guide to Understanding Dogen and Who You are In the Universe as well as an upcoming book provisionally titled Building the Future Buddha: The Kōan of Robots, Genes, Saving the World and Travelling to the Stars.

During our 2-hour conversation with Jundo Cohen, we cover a variety of interesting topics such as the story of how a Jewish kid from the Bronx became a Zen Master in Japan; Buddhism and Zen Buddhism; oneness, wholeness, and the illusion of separation; whether we are living in a simulation; why the world is both perfect and imperfect; moderation, compassion, simplicity, desire and excess;  dealing with pain and discomfort; why acceptance is not giving up; the wave as a manifestation of the sea; artificial meat, modifying the human genome and other tech solutions to our problems; David Pearce’s Hedonistic Imperative; the singularity, AI and Transhumanism.

As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full. To show your support you can write a review on iTunesmake a direct donation, or become a patron on Patreon.

Who is Roshi Jundo Cohen?

Jundo Cohen is a Zen teacher and founder of the Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen community using visual media to link Zen practitioners around the world. Treeleaf serves those who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns; age or disability; living in remote areas; or work, childcare, or family needs. It provides zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist sangha, all fully online without thought of location or distance.

Jundo was born and raised in the United States but has lived in Japan for more than half his life. He currently resides in Tsukuba “Science City,” Japan, home to Japan’s space program, dozens of research institutes, a particular collider, and several of the world’s fastest Super Computers. He was ordained and subsequently received Dharma transmission from Master Gudo Wafu Nishijima and is a member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association. He is the author of The Zen Master’s Dance: A Guide to Understanding Dogen and Who You Are in the Universe, Wisdom Publications, 2020

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