Movies, Counter Culture, & Zen

Movies, Counter Culture, & Zen


HostIan Punnett

GuestsSam Maranto, Peter Coyote

In hours two through four of the program, award-winning actor, author, director, screenwriter, and narrator Peter Coyote joined Ian Punnett (Twitter) to discuss his remarkable film career, the counter-culture of the 60s and 70s, and his latest work as an ordained Zen Buddhist priest.

Coyote shared the role that Buddhism plays in his life, citing its Four Noble Truths as central to his philosophy. His practice includes using masks and psychedelic drugs as part of meditation, which, he said, can bring about a total change in consciousness. In such a state, he went on, it's possible to let go of one's personality and ego, and instead embrace the potential for change and enlightenment. His goal as a writer on Buddhism is to present its concepts in a way that will appeal to contemporary Americans, "people who are never going to shave their heads or wear robes, and who will understand that these are human states and conditions that the Buddha was talking about. They're not foreign [ideas]."

Buddhist principles apply to celebrity culture as well, Coyote related. In an industry where youth and fame are prized, the loss of either can be crippling. For this reason, he grew tired of the celebrity he enjoyed, and sought out being compassionate, mindful, and focused on what truly matters throughout his Hollywood career.

Referring to Coyote's previous struggles with substance abuse, a listener in Louisiana asked him what his advice might be for fighting his own sex addiction. When a Colorado caller wondered what it was like to work on "E.T." with Steven Spielberg, Coyote replied that he had no idea that the film would become the smash hit that it did, and that working with Spielberg was inspiring for a relatively new actor like himself. A first-time caller wanted to discuss the different varieties of hallucinogenic cacti with Coyote, and another listener in New York was curious as to how professional actors balance rest and ambition. Coyote explained that to an extent, an actor is always in their role, and at the same time their role is always influenced by their personal identity.


Sam Maranto has been the State Director for Illinois MUFON and a certified Field Investigator for over 20 years. In the first hour of the program, he updated his work on a string of Chicago UFO sightings. Based on the high number of recent reports, he noted, UAP activity has been up significantly in Illinois. Some of this increase may be due to the prevalence of technology like smartphone video cameras, which improves the quality of eyewitness accounts and strengthens the overall body of evidence for UAP phenomena, Maranto said.



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