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Talks by Order Members

Building Sangha

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In this talk, delivered on the 21st anniversary of the opening of the London Buddhist Centre, Subhuti outlines a blueprint for Sangha. He enumerates seven 'tools' which promote the building of Sangha: taking responsibility for one's own actions, being objective, ways of communicating criticism, confession, forgiveness, rejoicing in merits, giving thanks. He also speaks about shame, respect for wise opinion, and 'the morality of the private moment'. (70 mins.)
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Notes for a talk on Hakuin

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In this unique and electrifying talk at the 1995 Order Convention Padmavajra evokes the Japanese Zen master Hakuin. Taking the form of a poetic monologue Padmavajra speaks of Hakuin's early life, his fear of suffering and death, the burning desire to come to the truth of 'The Great Matter'. With reflections of his own, short poems and snatches from various commentaries, the account of the master's life closes with his death and final utterance. (58 mins)
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Why is Enlightenment the answer...

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Vidyamala is a Buddhist with considerable personal experience of physical pain and sickness. Her spirituality is based in self-responsibility, the embracing of life and being present to what is happening now.
Drawing themes from the life of the Buddha, and especially the story of the four sights, as well as from her own experience, she offers a practical approach to living in the face of old age, sickness and death.
(60 mins.)
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A Vision of Self-Transcendence

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According to Buddhism we do not exist, at least not in the way we normally view ourselves. By holding on to this false view we limit ourselves and suffer unhappiness. But we can transcend this situation. Speaking with clarity and joy Ratnaguna describes this upward and outward movement of life, embodied in Wisdom and Compassion, and demonstrates how these inseparable aspects of Enlightenment are essential for the well-being of contemporary society.
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Meditation

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Meghiya was an impetuous attendant of the the Buddha determined to pursue the practice of meditation at any cost, even if it means leaving his master unattended. By telling the story in his own words Kamalashila breathes life into a character whose basic attitudes are relevant today. Throughout his tale Kamalashila elaborates on many issues relating to meditation and the human condition, as well as concluding with foundations upon which meditation can be truly effective.
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Beyond Good and Evil

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Everyone is concerned with ethical issues, whether sexual, financial, or the ethics of our leaders or of our friends.
The globalisation of contemporary society has brought diverse cultures into proximity and questioned the truth of respective cultural values.
Are ethics possible without reference to an absolute authority or is personal preference our guideline?
With humour and energy Nagabodhi explores the Buddhist view.
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Death into Life

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Death is the great leveller and universal truth. But how can one live ones life in the face of this truth? In this lively and highly personal talk Parami relates her considerable experience with, and response to, death and dying, and in particular her work with individuals dying from AIDS. By drawing insights from the Buddhist tradition and and reflecting on her experiences she presents to us the challenge and rewards that a greater awareness of death would have on our lives.
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Buddhism in a Post-Modern World

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Buddhism has come to the West, has come into contact with the Postmodern World, characterised by a perspective that there is no fixed, common, reality from which truths can be known. The sea of faith has given way to a Sea of scepticism. God is dead and Shakespeare just another dead white european male. Buddhism originated in India over 2500 years ago. In this incisive and insightful talk Kulananda explores their meeting and anticipates some developments.
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Breaking Free

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Srimala's recent autobiography, 'Breaking Free', demonstrates the difficulties inherent in combining family life, and in particular motherhood, with the spiritual life, saying that the former is antithetical to the latter because it has a basic selfish intention. Her book also attracted its critics. Speaking from her own experience, and drawing from the Buddhist tradition, Srimala bases her talk around answering an imaginary critic and addresses the issues that can place family life in such opposition to the Buddhist life.
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Buddhism for Today

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Whenever Buddhism has encountered a new culture it has effected changes within that culture, whilst at the same time developing to the meet the culture itself.
So how might Buddhism genuinely manifest in the world we know today?
Looking at the phenomena of disorientation and atomisation in the postmodern world Subhuti speaks about how that Buddhism for a postmodern world might appear.

 

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Building a Buddhist Culture

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This symposium of talks, was given at the 1998 FWBO Day. Subhuti spoke about creating a culture of meaning and ethical values, at the heart of which is wisdom and compassion. Kulananda talked about creating a Buddhist economy and offered a framework of the five precepts through which to develop a dana society. Maitreyi spoke about creating community, drawing on her experience both within and without the Buddhist tradition. (57 mins.)
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The Path of the Inner Life

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This symposium was given at the 1999 FWBO Day. Padmavajra introduced the theme and spoke about how all of our activities as Buddhists come from the inner life. Ratnaguna talked about relection, detailing its importance and suggesting how to develop it as a practice. Ratnaghosa spoke broadly about the inner life in relation to outer life, awareness and refinement of sense input and the dangers of literalism. (90 mins)

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Western Buddhist Meditation 1-2

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1. FOUNDATION. We do not meditate in isolation; there is both a context and foundation to Buddhist meditation. Kamalashila introduces these lectures, speaks of the purpose of Buddhist meditation, beginning by describing the human condition and the fact of suffering and evokes the beauty of the jewel of the Dharma. (60 mins.)
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2. GRAVITATION. Using the Meghiya Sutta to illustrate, Kamalashila speaks about the need to work against the basic gravitational pulls of greed hatred and delusion. He looks, in particular, at the importance of commitment, the contemplation of the 'unlovely', and the cultivation of Metta.
(69 mins.)
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Western Buddhist Meditation 3-4

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3. UNIFICATION. Unification of the mind can be gained through the practice of mindfulness, especially in meditation. He explores two ways of looking at this: firstly through the system of eradicating the five hindrances and cultivating dhyana; secondly through the stages of concentration elaborated in the Anapanisati Sutta. (66 mins.)
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4. ILLUMINATION. To have Insight is to change in the most radical way. He speaks of the cultivation of Insight and then looks at what someone with Insight would be like. He considers this through the traditional list of the four holy persons: the arahant, non-returner, once-returner and stream entrant. (68 mins.)
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Western Buddhist Meditation 5-6

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5. TRANSFORMATION. According to Buddhism we misinterpret the nature of the world around us. He addresses this issue from the position of the Yogacara school through the model of the eight consciousnesses. He shows how, through the transformation of these consciousnesses, this misinterpretation is overcome. (60 mins.)
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6. EXEMPLICATION. In this culminating talk he considers how all Buddhist spiritual practices come together as a whole in the practice of mindfulness. He explores the foundations of mindfulness from the Satiptana Sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya and then turns to two aspects of mindfulness: Sati and Sampajanna. (67 mins.)
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Friendship as a Path...

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At a Great Gathering of women in the FWBO in July 1998, Parami describes the message of the Gandavyuha Sutra: that through friendship it is possible to understand the nature of Reality and develop the arising of the Bodhicitta. Parami makes some thought-provoking and humorous observations about women and friendship, and exhorts women to cultivate the three functions of a spiritual friend: protecting and caring; teaching and guiding; exhorting and inspiring.
(71 mins.)
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Friends in the Good Life

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In this personal and moving talk given at the Great Gathering for women in the FWBO in 1998, Samata charts the course of her spiritual life and shows the influence certain friendships had upon it. Describing her friendships with Srimala, Dhammadinna, Parami, Maitreyi and Anjali, she illustrates how friendship helps us move away from an attitude of acquisitiveness and towards an experience of relatedness and love. Doing so she provides us with a shining example of the transformative power of friendship. (72 mins.)
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Living in the Midst of Paradox

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Speaking to the women's Great Gathering at Taraloka in July 2000 Kulaprabha shares some of her reflections on Wisdom.
She looks at paradoxical statements in a number of Dharma texts, presenting the challenge of the Buddha's Wisdom as a paradox which goes against all common sense; what we are being asked to look at is the non-existence of ourselves.
In doing so she encourages her audience not to be satisfied with a premature understanding of the Dharma.
(63 mins.)
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Dr. Ambedkar: Dhamma Revolution

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Speaking on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of Dr Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism Padmavajra speaks about the great Indian leader, Dr Ambedkar. He explains how and why Dr Ambedkar and his followers came to Buddhism, exploring the origins of the new Buddhist movement in India, looking at why conversion was necessary. (79 min)
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Talks aimed at the Triratna Buddhist Order and those pursuing ordination

Discipleship in the WBO

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The idea of discipleship has become downgraded in the modern West and yet it permeates the entire Buddhist tradition. So what does it really mean to be a disciple? What are the essential qualities and duties of the disciple? How does it lead to individuality and liberation? Speaking at the 1995 Order Convention Ratnaguna illustrating his points throughout by drawing on his own reflections and with stories of 'good' and 'bad' disciples from the life of the Buddha. (62 mins)
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15pts for Effective Refuge

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In the context of a men's retreat at Aryaloka, USA, in 1993, we see Subhuti at his best. His talk is good humoured and natural, and yet he speaks with great passion, and self avowed bluntness about what is very close to his heart - what do we need to do to make our Going for Refuge effective. In fifteen pertinent and considered points he highlights the practices, views and attitudes that need to be strengthened before we can be ready to join the Western Buddhist Order. (85 mins)
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The Need for Spiritual Hierarchy

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With this excellent and challenging talk Subhuti launched his new book 'Sangharakshita - a new voice in the Buddhist Tradition'. Subhuti explores the deeply rooted wrong view of pseudo-egalitarianism and examines the notion of inequality within Buddhism emphasising the need for veneration and respect. Citing responsibility as a fundamental vehicle for spsiritual growth he considers it's importance particularly within the framework of spiritual hierarchy in the FWBO. (61 mins)
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Stepping into the Void

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In this keynote talk of the 1997 Order Convention Subhuti introduces the theme of the Bodhicitta and relates the theme to the future of the Order. He identifies six elements of the Bodhicitta significant to the development of the Order - that it takes us beyond ourselves, is most likely to be experienced collectively, as a force that drives us and directs us to the welfare of others, spurs us in our personal evolution and aligns us with reality. (62 mins.)
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A River Out of Time

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Pursuing the theme of the Bodhicitta Kulananda relates it to Sangharakshita’s teaching of the gradual development of Insight. He applies the model of cultural, provisional, effective, real and absolute levels to the arising of the Bodhicitta. In answering the question of how we might develop the real level of the arising of the Bodhicitta he speaks, in particular, in terms of the Bodhicitta as ‘other power’ which flows down to us like a river. (57 mins.)
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Going Forth in the Bodhicitta

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In this talk, strongly influenced by his own practise of Brahmacharya, Kamalashila speaks about renunciation and Going Forth.

With reference to the field of the Bodhicitta he touches on areas such as Brahmacharya, the mystery of embodiment, and vows as effect rather than cause.

(68 mins.)

 


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Bodhicitta: Quicksilver Elixir

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Drawing on his extensive knowledge of the Buddhist tradition, Saramati traces the development of the Bodhicitta doctrine through the Mahayana. He speaks about the figures of Atisha and Shantideva and he briefly presents a seven point teaching from the Indo-Tibetan Lo Jong (mind training) teachings. (65 mins.)
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Great and Endless Cry of Longing

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Drawing inspiration from the Buddha’s Going Forth, his Enlightenment and his communication of the truth, Padmavajra speaks with passion about the Buddha’s love. Delivered with deep and sincere devotion he urges his audience onwards through a landscape rich with imagary to invoke the intensity of that love. (55 mins.)
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Bodhicitta in Pure Land Buddhism

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With delightful clarity Ratnaguna speaks on a subject that is obviously close to his heart, tracing the development of Pure land Buddhism through Shinran’s seven patriarchs, the development of the Bodhicitta in Pure Land Buddhism, the the place of the Bodhicitta in Shinran’s teaching.

(75 mins.)

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What is the Order?

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Introducing the theme of these talks Subhuti outlines why there is a need for an Order and the validity of ordinations into that Order.

He presents criteria by which it would not be necessary to have an Order and concludes by addressing the theme of both the talk and the series.


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How to become an Order Member

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Request, Response, Interaction, Acceptance, Ordination: covering each of these phases Subhuti takes us through the process towards ordination touching on areas such as eccentricity and individualism, the threefold model of the Buddhist Community and the driving principle of the Order.
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The Spirit of the Order

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What is the 'final end' towards which the Order is working? Subhuti presents this end in terms of the third order of consciousness. He speaks about the faculty active in this order of consciousness (sometimes referred to by such terms as the Intellect, the Imagination, Intuition or Shraddha) and how this allows both unity and diversity.
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The Politics of Kalyana Mitrata

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By relating how Bhante has systematically handed on his responsibility, Subhuti explores the hierarchy of responsibility within the movement. He explores both the position of those who genuinely do not fit into the central institutions of the movement and the modus operandi of those individuals who take positions of leadership and responsibility within a structure that is not based on power.
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The Institution of Kalyana Mitrata

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The institutions of the movement are set up as a framework solely for communicating the spirit of the Order: this purpose is primary and the form secondary. These institutions should not take on a life of their own independent of this purpose. Beginning in this way Subhuti then investigates the idea of duty, and specifically the practical duty of Order Members to maintain harmony within the Order.
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One Thousand Hands

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In his final talk Subhuti describes how it is the duty of Order Members to help others Go for Refuge to the Three Jewels and to act as a bridge to the Order.

This duty is both practical and an expression of the individual Order Member's Going for Refuge. He concludes by speaking how this might manifest through the creation of the New Society.
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To the Sangha for Refuge I Go

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At the 1999 Men's Order Convention Subhuti delivered this talk as an exploration of the act of Going for Refuge to the Sangha. In exhorting his audience to practise Sangha more wholeheartedly Subhuti looks at the cognitive, affective and volitional aspects of the act. He examines how the act of Going for Refuge to the Aryasangha, which is the true refuge, is worked out ever more fully through the engagement with the Order, and then concludes with practical means by which this can be accomplished. (73 mins.)
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The Courage to Build

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Our times are marked by growing individualism. In this talk, given in 1998, Subhuti shares his thoughts and concerns arguing that individualism is a sign of the times and that the urge to deconstruct institutions is an easy option. Yet institutions are fundamental to life, and for the majority, essential to living the an effective Buddhist life. Therefore the courageous, and necessary, path is the creation of institutions that serve spiritual ends and whose means are ethical. (73 mins.)
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The Future of the Order...

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In the keynote address of the 2003 Order Convention Subhuti tackles the question of who is ‘in charge’ in the Western Buddhist Order and how flexibility around our forms and structures is necessary for the future. In a rich and honest talk he explores how to encourage diversity while maintaining unity. Topics include the need for kalyana mitrata to be spontaneous and personal, Bhante’s relationship to ordination and the way of seeing the FWBO as the creative and altruistic activity of Order Members. (71 min)
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Where I Am and Where I Want To Go

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At the November 2004 Men’s national Order weekend Subhuti addressed the Order in two important talks. The first entitled ‘Where I Am Now’ was especially concerned with his responses to Bhante and decisions about the part he was willing to play in the future of the Order and movment.
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In the second talk ‘Where I Want To Go’ Subhuti expressed where he didn’t want to go back to, and more crucially where he wanted the Order to go in the future. For Order Members only. (162 min total)
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Do we have Faith in the Order?

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Speaking to members of the Western Buddhist Order at the 1998 WBO Day Subhuti addressed a subject of vital importance. In the light of recent attacks on the FWBO Subhuti explores the basis of faith.

With reference to the sutta called The Lesser Discourse on the Lion's Roar, he examines the Buddha's teaching of the four beses of faith in the Order and teaching, and considers how these are relevent to us.
(66 mins.)
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