Sunday, March 29, 2009

unorthodox and controversial

The Essential Sangharakshita, and excellent book, which I highly recommend, says in the biographical sketch by Vidyadevi (Karen Stout):

"During the forty years since his return to England, Sangharakshita has continued to be unorthodox and controversial figure, and many aspects of his life and thoughts have received close scrutiny; he has attracted criticism from some and deep gratitude from others who say they owe their lives to the movement he formed." (p.6)

Part of this might be because of Yashomitra's Shabda Article March 2003.
Shabda is the journal for order memebers of the WBO to report in, and discuss the spiritual life. For those who have asked for ordination, on the men's side there is Jalaka.

My conclusion about the whole business was that I don't have enough information. There's some discussion on the FWBO Discussion site. I think that if what people say is true, that there have been some abuses. It's interesting to think that maybe I've idealized Sangharakshita and being disillusioned is empowering to me.

So I was reading Nancy McWilliams, from her book Psychoanalytic Diagnosis for class, when I came across the following quote:

"The susceptibility of those in a relatively weak position to converting their envy, hostility, and fear of mistreatment into a sexual scenario, on in which they compensate for a relative lack of official power with recourse to a very personal erotic power, is one of the reasons it is socially important to have laws and conventions protecting employees on employers, students on teachers, sergeants on lieutenants, etc.). We all need to be discouraged from the temptations created by our own defenses as well as from the possibility of crass exploitation by the authorities in our lives." (p. 141)

She was writing about the defensive use of sexualization. I thought of all the relationships in the FWBO, mitras who hooked up with OMs. I have a special sensitivity to scandals and corruption, misuse of power. I am attracted in a way to the stories of Zen Centers where priests sleep with the wives, or the sexual proclivities of Chogyam Trungpa.

I also see the other side of the coin, regarding the sex life of the spiritual leader, I think they are allowed to be sexual. The WBO doesn't interpret the third precept as chastity. If you are a leader, where can you go to find a relationship? Obviously, outside the sangha is good. Supposedly in the UK where there are lots of sanghas, people date people from the next sangha over. Sometimes.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's the whole life

Vidhuma talks briefly about the Buddha and what he he draws inspiration from:

The SF sangha sings another version of Hallelujah:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

FWBO Refuge Three Video

When the advertisement pops up, close it, to see the video.

Or you could go to the source.

Bante talks about how we might not literally read all the teachings or follow all the practices of the very inclusive refuge tree, but for instance Atisha chose to shorten his life by spreading the Dharma. He's there more for that, more than his specific teachings or practices. It's a good video for anyone who's seeking ordination into the FWBO.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Essential Sangharakshita bio sketch

I read the biographical sketch, which is a new one. I suppose if you read the same one in his many books, it's cool to read a new one. I think it was very good. It didn't gloss over things.

I recommend The Essential Sangharaskhita, for those who haven't read anything by him, and for those who've, like me, read most his books.

new video about Jews and Buddhists

I was first made aware of this video by the excellent blogger Danny Fisher.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Essential Sangharakshita

Wisdom Publishing has come out with The Essential Sangharakshita, I got mine in the mail today. I'm very excited. I read the bit about it in the FWBO News.

He's got so much to read, we really need this volume. A Guide To The Buddhist Path is perhaps a collection of teachings that tries to collect a larger vision into one volume, but in no way can be compared to this.

I would go so far as to say this book should be amongst any respectable Buddhist's library.

My favorite books of his are A Survey Of Buddhism, Know Your Mind, The Three Jewels, Living With Kindness, Living With Awareness and The Yogi's Joy. Also Crossing The Stream, which are his early essays, are quite awesome. There are many other great ones. I haven't liked few. I've heard he really likes The Priceless Jewel, which was OK to me, but I didn't really think was that great.

I'm really interested into looking into this book. I expect to be writing more about this.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

basic video of Buddhism

Follow this link to watch a video that is a basic introduction to Buddhism that's almost 50 minutes.

Parenting Links

Karen Miller’s 8 practical guidelines for parents. Here's a quote:

"Give more attention. And less of everything else. Devote one hour a day to giving undistracted attention to your children. Not in activities driven by your agenda, but according to their terms. Undivided attention is the most concrete expression of love you can give."

Parents, Leave Your Home. Here's a quote:

"Those of us with families practice on this balancing point: wobbling between the should and the could, the can and the can't, the leave and the stay, the home and the monastery. What a waste! What a misery!"

great practice day

We had some visiting order members conduct our practice day with our usual leader in India for the order convention. They have been coming down for a while, so it was not a big change. We went over the essay by Subhuti called Mindfulness and the Mind. We ended the day chanting Sabbe sattā sukhi hontu.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Amitabha at Bodgaya

Originally uploaded by jayarava
Jayarava uploaded a bunch of photos from his trip to India, on Flickr. This is one, click on the photo to go to more.

Friday, March 06, 2009

interesting article

In the Times, as many blogs have reported, there's an interesting article about mindfulness by Judith Warner.

Here's a quote:

"For the truth is, however admirable mindfulness may be, however much peace, grounding, stability and self-acceptance it can bring, as an experience to be shared, it’s stultifyingly boring."

I think she might have it wrong, I don't think mindfulness has to be boring. But it might change you, maybe twisted sense of humor or discharging tension isn't as funny.

And at this time there are 589 Comments (7:33 pm. EST 3/6/09). Can I read them all?