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Talks by Sangharakshita

In the course of his career both in India and the West, Sangharakshita has given thousands of talks - thankfully we have some of his more recent ones on tape. The following are in approximately chronological order. All talks are, or very soon will be, online and only some are available for purchase as DVDs.

The Taste of Freedom

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Just as the mighty ocean has but one taste, the taste of salt, even so the Dharma-vinaya (Buddhism) has but one taste, the taste of freedom (The Udana). In this stimulating lecture Sangharakshita asks the question: What is Freedom? He proposes that it is more than mere civil freedom, that it is, in fact, much more, and in so doing casts light on these ancient words of the Buddha. (70 mins)
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Buddhism, ..War & World Peace

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The Buddha's voice of sanity and compassion once successfully prevented an outbreak of war between two rival classes. The destructive forces which can be employed today are on a vast scale. Sangharakshita discusses realistic courses of action and suggests that true peace must involve a commitment to non-violence and a solution to the problem of death. (110 mins)
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Buddhist Dawn in the West

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Sangharakshita outlines the circumstances which led him to found the FWBO, and the reasons for the form of ordination used in the WBO. He goes on to discuss three recent developments in the FWBO: new facilities for women, ordinations conducted by senior Order Members, and a new Buddhist magazine.
Recorded on FWBO Day.
(130 mins)
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Discerning the Buddha

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In trying to discern the Buddha we are trying to discern the highest kind of being - an Enlightened being. But the Buddha considered the Dharma - the Truth - to be higher still, deciding to 'live under it, honouring and respecting it'. Does this mean that there were reaches of the path that he had not yet explored? (70 mins)
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The Buddha's Victory

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The full moon of May is considered to be the anniversary of the Buddha's Enlightenment and his victory over the demon Mara. Sangharakshita explains what Mara represents and how he can be overcome. He goes on to describe the other great victories won by the Buddha.
(70 mins)
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The Message of Dhardo Rimpoche

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Given on the first anniversary of the death of the Rimpoche, Sangharakshita explores and illuminates the meaning of the motto used by Dhardo for his school in Kalimpong: Cherish the Doctine, Live United, Radiate Love. He shows how this teaching is of great importance and relevance for all practising Buddhists. (45 mins) Online here

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The Five Pillars of the FWBO

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Given on FWBO Day 1991, we are treated to a fascinating overview of some fundamental bases, or 'pillars', which underpin the FWBO. With charcteristic clarity Sangharakshita explains how we, as individuals, and we as the FWBO, need to 'know ourselves', and that the five pillars (ideas, practices, institutions, experiment and imagination) are ways through which we could do this.
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The Cave

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On the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of the Western Buddhist Order at the Manchester Town Hall in 1991 Sangharakshita reads a story he had written the previous year.
'The Cave' is an evocative and moving story set in Northern India at the time of the Buddha.(55 mins)
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Buddhism and the West

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At the 1992 European Buddhist Union Congress, Sangharakshita gave a talk entitled 'The Integration of Buddhism into Western Society'. He talks of the psychological, social, economic, intellectual, cultural and individual changes which we can expect to see - and which all Western Buddhists must unite to effect.
(55 mins)
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Wisdom Beyond Words

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Launching 'Wisdom Beyond Words', his exegesis of the texts of the Buddhist Perfection of Wisdom tradition, Sangharakshita explores the crucial principle of hierarchy in Buddhism, in particular the hierarchies of the spirit and awareness. This leads into a discussion of the difference between jnana, or awareness of things as they really are, and vijnana, or awareness of things only as they appear to be; a thoroughgoing understanding of which constitutes the greatest task facing Buddhists in the west today. (81 mins)
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15 Pts for Old & New O.M.s

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In this lively talk given on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Western Buddhist Order, Sangharakshita exhorts all members of the Order to deepen their own personal practice of the Dharma and to be even more vigorous in their attempts to communicate the Dharma to the wider world. The thought-provoking points made here which will be of interest not only to the Order Members but to anyone interested in the practice of Buddhism in the modern world. (90 mins)
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15 points for Buddhist Parents

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A talk followed by Questions and Answers. Buddhist parents from many parts of Great Britain packed the London Buddhist Arts Centre in April 1994 to hear Sangharakshita present, in an informal talk, fifteen points for "Buddhists who are also parents". Mallika, who chaired the talk, described it as "wise, practical and profound." Sangharakshita then spent a further 100 minutes answering questions from parents who are working to apply Buddhist principles to their relationships with children and family situations. (170 mins)
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The Disappearing Buddha

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In a wide-ranging talk presented to a large audience at St.James church in Picadilly, London, Sangharakshita presents an inspiring and vivid picture of the Buddha as warrior, hero and teacher able to achieve real communication by meeting others on their own terms. Drawing parallels with Christian doctrine and recounting anecdotes from his past, Sangharakshita explores the Dharma; Enlightenment; the realms of supernormal beings and Buddhist scriptures.
(85 mins)
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The Rain of the Dharma (SF)

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Sangharakshita opens this talk in San Francisco with an affectionate account of his 8 main teachers and then explores the principle themes of the White Lotus Sutra - a sutra which is 'spiritually speaking of very great historical and doctrinal importance indeed.' After an exciting explanation of the Three Gateways of Liberation, Sangharakshita describes the five things essential to our spiritual growth and concludes with a challenging plea that the rain of the Dharma be kept pure and 'pollution free.' (70 mins)
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The Rain of the Dharma (Seattle)

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After an enjoyable autobiographical account of his discovery of Buddhism, his time in India and his realisation in 1964 of the need to create a new Buddhist movement, Sangharakshita continues with an exploration of the White Lotus Sutra, greatly influential on Far-East Buddhism. He concludes with five things needed for our spiritual growth, highlighting the "tremendous spiritual optimism of Buddhism" and inviting us to saturate ourselves in the pure rain of the Dharma.
(60 mins)
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The Rain of the Dharma (Missoula)

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Sangharakshita gives a detailed, often amusing, autobiography: his childhood; his discovery that he was a Buddhist; his travels in India and his thoughts and ideas which led to the formation of the FWBO and the WBO. After a very clear introduction to the structures and practices of the movement and an inspiring explanation of the centrality of Going for Refuge, he concludes by outlining the five things needed for the growth of the individual in his or her spiritual life, affirming the potential for Enlightenment shared by all human beings and reminding us that the world today needs the pure 'unpolluted' rain of the Dharma. (95 mins)
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Great Buddhists of the 20th Century

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In this substantial lecture given at the London Buddhist Vihara on 14th October 1995, Sangharakshita delivered a fascinating series of vignettes introducing five great Buddhists who have all had a significant impact on modern Buddhism, especially in the West: Anagarika Dharmapala, Alexandra David-Neel, B.R.Ambedkar, Lama Govida and Dr. Edward Conze. He reveals glimpses of these individuals who, although uniquely different, possessed the same determination, courage, unconventionality and heroism which transformed the world around them. (124 mins)
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Extending the Hand of Fellowship

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Speaking on the 28th anniversary of the Western Buddhist Order, Sangharakshita presented this meticulously thought-out paper concerning the relationship of the Order to the rest of the Buddhist world.
He identifies three principles in which to explore this relationship: ecumenicity, orthodoxy and personal contact. He explains how there is not one Buddhist world but many and how the WBO relates to each, discusses the criteria for orthodoxy in Buddhism and finally indicates in what spirit Order members should relate to other Buddhists.
(108 mins)
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Opening the Manchester Centre

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One of the greatest foundations of the FWBO are the ideas born from the clarity of thought of its founder Sangharakshita. On 16th July 1996, at the opening of the Manchester Buddhist Centre, he presented some of his latest thinking. In particular, with his accustomed clarity and good humour, he spoke about intellect, emotion and will as aspects of the individual who Goes for Refuge. (78 mins)
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Reflections on Going Forth

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On the 50th anniversary of his ‘Going Forth’, speaking at the 1997 WBO convention, Sangharakshita shares his current reflections in relation to that historic event and the Buddha’s Noble Quest. He gives a brief account of different levels of Going Forth and then speaks more specifically in terms of going forth from body, speech and mind, touching on the areas of going forth from country and language, and the practise of silence during meals. (90 mins.)
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Returning to the West

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In an intimate and entertaining style Sangharakshita reads extracts from his recent biographical writing covering the period after his return to England from India in 1964. In particular he speaks about his initial impressions on arriving at Heathrow, meeting his parents after many years and his new association with ‘British Buddhism’. He concludes by reading four previously unpublished poems. Recorded in April 1998 at the London Buddhist Centre. (78 mins.)
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The Next 20 Years

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On WBO Day 1988, the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Western Buddhist Order, its founder, Sangharakshita, reflects informally on his hopes and fears for the next 20 years. He touches on a wide range of topics including the handing over of his responsibilities. He exhorts the Order (and the movement more generally) to practice mindfulness more seriously, to improve politeness and to go out into society to make clear the Buddhist conception of ethics, as well as to take an active part in combatting racial prejudice and develop what he calls 'an ecological dimension'. (84 mins)
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A Life for the Dharma

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In this substantial talk, given at the Birmingham Buddhist Centre in January 1999, Sangharakshita tells the life story of the Indian master Atisha, who helped establish Buddhism in Tibet. Along the way he throws out some challenging and far reaching questions of great relevence for modern Buddhists. He particularly stresses the Path of Regular Steps and exhorts his audience to make full use of spiritual opportunities. Most of all he emphasises the importance of self-sacrifice and living one's life for the Dharma.
(98 mins)
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Standing on Holy Ground

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Given at the Birmingham Buddhist Centre, in February 1999, Sangharakshita explains his poem 'The Scholars', and draws out a number of important points. He distinguishes between three types of disciple; the Faith follower, the Doctrine follower and the Body Witness, and asks whether they can each make the same amount of spiritual progress. After offering a new way of interpreting the three levels of Wisdom, he describes what it is to be a Western Buddhist with a rich cultural heritage and offers us 4 suggestions about how to read books on Buddhism. (87 mins.)
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Looking at the Bodhi Tree

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In a public talk given in London, on the occasion of Wesak in May 1999, Sangharakshita addresses a subject that he has not spoken about at length before, that of gratitude.
Using, as his starting point, the Buddha’s Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, he explores the idea of gratitude as an important quality for the Buddhist to develop. In doing so he considers the three traditional recipients of gratitude, namely parents, teachers and spiritual friends, and then concludes by listing four possible reasons for ingratitude. (75 mins)
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Footprints of Delight

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Delivering this talk at the Birmingham Buddhist Centre Sangharakshita beautifully evokes a sense of the spiritual path as a journey, following in the footsteps of the Buddha.
He gradually works towards the central image by tracing his early interest in writing and literature and explaining how this lead him towards the Dharma. Then weaving a commentary into the verses of his poem ‘Sripada’, or ‘Footprints of delight’, he recounts events and observations from his own life. (63 min) br />View Online

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Informal talk at Padmaloka

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Delivering this informal talk at Padmaloka in January 2002 Sangharakshita starts by reflecting on two recent events in his life - handing on the headship of the Order and the deterioration of his eyesight. He then speaks in detail about the six distinctive features of the FWBO - that it is ecumenical, with Going for Refuge as central, a unified Buddhist Order, emphasising Right Livelihood, recognising the spiritual value of the arts and the importance of spiritual friendship. Finally he recalls with feeling his own friendship with Dhardo Rimpoche. (90 min)
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Looking Ahead a Little Way

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At the 1999 Order Convention Sangharakshita speaks about the Buddhist vision of history as cyclic, and that Buddhism also arises and declines. He enumerates six emphases of the FWBO/TBMSG, and says that although the movement is flourishing this is not guaranteed. Disharmony within the Order is more damaging than opposition from without, that true harmony is achieved when sufficient Order Members make their Going for Refuge real. (70 mins.)
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Handing on the Headship

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Celebrating his 75th birthday Sangharakshita completed the process of passing on all formal responsibilities by handing on the headship of the Order. His short talk is followed by Dharmachari Subhuti’s acceptance of the headship on behalf of those involved and he explores the relevance of this pivotal moment for the future of the Order and movement.
(20 and 60 mins.)

 
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Remembering Ambedkar

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For his first public talk for over four years, Sangharakshita visited the London Buddhist Centre on Saturday 14th October 2006. He talked about his personal memories of Dr Ambedkar, the plight of the Dalits in India, and the mass conversion of these so called 'Untouchables' to Buddhism exactly 50 years earlier, in 1956, led by Dr Ambedkar. He reflected on how this work has continued since Dr Ambedkar’s death that year. (48 min)
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Looking Back - and Ahead

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At the Birmingham Buddhist Centre in April 2007 Sangharakshita helped celebrate the 40th anniversary of the FWBO (as well as the 60th anniversary of his Going Forth). With characteristic clarity and conviction, he shares reflections on: anniversaries; the early days of the FWBO and our core practices; his Going Forth in India; the difficulties of practising the Dharma; what makes someone not a Buddhist and the Four Dharmamudras; and finally refreshes our memory about the six distinctive emphases of the FWBO. (61 mins)
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Recollections...on Going Forth

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Sangharakshita revisits his time as a wandering 'Dharma Farer' in the India of the 1940's. The occasion for this colourful set of stories and related insights is the 60th anniversary of his decision to 'Go Forth' into the homeless life, in line with the oldest Buddhist traditions. Sangharakshita is in fine, thoughtful, at times even mischievous form as he heads into his 83rd year, and, as usual, is uncompromising in his vision of the spiritual life as a vital challenge to the comfortable mores of our times. (57 mins)
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