Back in December or so when we were originally prepping for the date we thought Owen would be joining us, I listened to several episodes of the DharmaRealm podcast, which is a series of discussions based out of Berkeley, CA between Harry Bridge, a Jōdo Shinshū (i.e. Shin, a popular form of Buddhism from Japan similar to Zen) minister (with a masters in Buddhist studies) and Scott Mitchell, a professor of Buddhist studies who also studied philosophy and religion.
The discussions are loose and relaxed (per usual, I listen at double speed, and don’t know if I could bear it otherwise, but that’s just me), typically into a major area of Buddhist teaching like suffering, karma, no self, reincarnation, etc., with more recent episodes covering topics like creativity and Buddhism in film. The two obviously read/prepare for the discussions, but don’t lay out systematically what they’ve read, and a lot of the references to particular thinkers and schools are not done in such a way that reveals much to the listener about these sources (“now we’re getting into heavy Abhidhamma territory”), though they could give you some search terms to follow up with on your own (their web site includes some links too).
Instead, the point seems something like an interactive, very non-aggressive sermon. For instance, in the episodes on karma (a three-part discussion), the conversation goes something like “There are a lot of different views about karma in Buddhist literature. Which is true, we don’t know, but the concept is best used as a moral tool for examining yourself, and is not well used to admonish others or say that they got what they deserved.” So, pleasant enough, with some nice anecdotes sprinkled in, but as a learning experience, it’s very gradual. Listening to this, I’m feeling less like I’m studying something and more like I’m just hanging around people who take Buddhism seriously and gleaning their general world-view. This is certainly not a bad thing, and they’ve got enough episodes (a few more than we do, though theirs are much shorter than ours) that were I to make it through all of them, I would doubtless feel well immersed.
At the very least, I think either of these guys would make swell PEL guests (Scott in particular given his philosophy background, which shows up in some of his explanations), and the overall tone and goal seems similar to ours, so I encourage you to check it out and let me know what you think.