Grounding meditation
Jul12

Grounding meditation

Meditation grounding awareness in the body....

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Basic grounding in experience
Jul12

Basic grounding in experience

This meditation provides the basic grounding in experience upon which all other meditation is based. It includes a calming relaxation. (28 minutes)...

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Mindfulness and the four arrows
Jan05

Mindfulness and the four arrows

This article is adapted from a thread submitted to and published in Shabda, the in-house journal of the Triratna Buddhist Order, in October 2014. It addresses the issue of practising or promoting secular mindfulness within a Buddhist context, and in particular the Triratna context.   A series of meetings were held early in 2014 to talk about live issues for practice within the Triratna Buddhist Community (TBC) and one of the topics was ‘Mindfulness,’ specifically how secular mindfulness should be integrated into our Buddhist movement. I was not at this meeting but as I have been thinking independently about this topic for a number of years, I would like to share my views with you about it. First of all I would like to say that to the extent that secular mindfulness-based therapies help people overcome suffering I am completely behind them. The work that Breathworks do in this area is brilliant, and the fact that mindfulness and compassion are becoming valued in secular society is a good thing. Having said that, there are people who have voiced the concern that secular mindfulness lacks an ethical dimension, and the evidence they have given is that it is now being used in corporate business and by the military, whose ethics are often questionable.   I think the main reason why this is the case is because of something well known in religious education circles: the difference between a professional approach and a confessional one. A confessional teacher teaches their own faith to children of that faith, whereas whatever the beliefs of a professional teacher are, they have to teach as if all religions are equal options. So in this age – secular just means ‘of the age’ – in the West, in order to gain approval and funding, things have to be professionally presented, in the sense that they do not promote a particular value system, including a particular ethical system. So in this system you can teach mindfulness to soldiers to help them deal with their stress – ethics to do with personal health and well being are non-controversial – but you cannot teach them mindfulness in order that they don’t go round shooting people. That has to be left to their own consciences.   With our self designated project of bringing Buddhism to the West, what we are dealing with here is our main collective problem – in the sense Bhante means it: not a difficulty. This is our MAIN COLLECTIVE KOAN. How do you deal with the boundary between the actual values of the majority of society in the West and the values of Triratna Buddhism or...

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Total Immersion retreat poetry
Oct04

Total Immersion retreat poetry

Here are the poems that Paramananda recited on the 2013 Total Immersion retreat in Devon. Some were recited by others in a tribute evening to Seamus Heaney on the retreat.   David Whyte Everything is waiting for you http://www.davidwhyte.com/english_everything.html   Rumi Out beyond ideas http://www.seasons-of-peace.net/rumi/beyond.htm   David Wagener Lost http://www.pachamama.org/blog/poem-lost-by-david-wagoner   Rumi I have such a teacher http://persweb.wabash.edu/facstaff/hulenp/sperit/poetry/rumi/ihavesuc.html   Gilbert Sorentino Anatomy http://maddingsouls.livejournal.com/177001.html   Denise Levertov Overland to the islands http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/03/saturday-poem-1.html   ee cummings me up at does http://readalittlepoetry.wordpress.com/2007/08/07/me-up-at-does-by-e-e-cummings/   Raymond Carver Late fragment http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/late-fragment/   Seamus Heaney A sofa in the forties http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/IrelandGenWeb/2003-01/1044008074   Seamus Heaney The forge http://cropcirclers.blogspot.co.uk/2006/03/forge-by-seamus-heaney-all-i-know-is.html   Seamus Heaney Gutteral muse http://shutupridzal.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/the-guttural-muse/   Seamus Heaney The outlaw    http://www.magyarulbabelben.net/works/en/Heaney,_Seamus-1939/The_Outlaw?interfaceLang=en   Seamus Heaney Miracle http://sacredfig.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/saturday-poem-miracle-by-seamus-heaney/   Seamus Heaney Peninsular http://ine.www.50megs.com/heaney.html   Seamus Heaney St Kevin and the blackbird http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoem.do?poemId=1396   Christopher Reid Late http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookprizes/6931781/Extract-A-Scattering-by-Christopher-Reid.html   Christopher Reid The scattering http://www.poetrybookgroup.com/?p=355   Margaret Atwood Sad child http://www.poemhunter.com/best-poems/margaret-atwood/a-sad-child/   David Whyte Faith http://www.gratefulness.org/poetry/Faith.htm   Roger Keys Hokusai says http://www.joannamacy.net/poemsilove/workshop-poems/131-hokusaisays.html   Derek Walcott Earth http://cerene.wordpress.com/2006/08/07/earth-derek-walcott/   Charles Bukowski Laughing heart http://milan-poetry.blogspot.co.uk/2007/03/laughing-heart-charles-bukowski.html   Anais Nin Risk http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/risk/   Gunner Eckloff Ayiasma (the cult around a purifying well)    http://www.blue-lights.com/dl_writing/poetry/ekelof12d.html   Tony Hoagland Lucky http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/lucky/   David Whyte Self portrait http://www.davidwhyte.com/english_self.html   Wallace Stevens Thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/stevens-13ways.html   Juan Ramon Jiminez Oceans http://allpoetry.com/poem/8625729-Oceans-by-Juan_Ramon_Jimenez   Margaret Attwood The moment    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-moment/   Charles Bukowski Bluebird    http://allpoetry.com/poem/8509539-Bluebird-by-Charles_Bukowski   Robinson Jeffers Vulture http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/vulture/     Donate here to help me carry on helping others      ...

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What Mahabodhi has been up to
Jun15

What Mahabodhi has been up to

Manchester Buddhist Centre newsletter June-July 2012 What Mahabodhi has been up to … Just over eight years ago I started writing a book. Originally the book was to be on ritual as that was my speciality around the centre. I had developed some ideas that I, and others, seemed to find helpful and so I thought I would share them. However, as I continued to write, after a couple of years I realized that I wanted also to talk about the meditative atmosphere required for ritual, that ritual was a way of approaching reality that was part of a bigger picture and this led me in the direction of mindfulness, which is the new topic of my book. In his lectures on the Noble Eightfold Path Sangharakshita talks about Perfect Mindfulness in terms of four ‘levels of awareness.’ He explained later that the more traditional teaching of the four foundations of mindfulness, which is contained within the Satipatthana Sutta, tended to be interpreted rather narrowly and cognitively, and practised with that interpretation he saw that mindfulness could lead to alienation. And so when he talks about mindfulness he emphasizes an integrated approach which includes the whole person, and in particular includes valuing the emotions. The whole person, conscious and subconscious, needed to be brought on board the spiritual life. And this is the approach we now have in the Triratna Community. So in his exposition of the four ‘levels of awareness:’ ‘awareness of the environment / things;’ awareness of self;’ awareness of other people;’ and ‘awareness of reality,’ Sangharakshita does in fact subsume the traditional four foundations of mindfulness under the categories of ‘awareness of self’ and ‘awareness of reality,’ – ‘awareness of self’ including awareness of body, feelings and thoughts (the first three foundations,) and ‘awareness of reality’ representing awareness of mental objects or dhammas (the fourth foundation) – but he adds to them two new categories: ‘awareness of the environment / things’ and ‘awareness of other people.’ These two categories are, he says, implicit in the body of Buddhist teachings and would, in the Buddha’s day, have been taken for granted, but in the modern sophisticated West they were often overlooked and therefore needed to be reemphasized, in order to restore a balance where emotional development and maturity were included within the Buddhist conception of mindfulness along with paying attention. As my book has developed I have felt a need to try to understand better the four foundations of mindfulness, and to see if they couldn’t be better understood along the lines of Sangharakshita’s vision. Reading them, I was often quite dissatisfied with traditional commentaries on the Sutta, whose interpretations seemed somewhat...

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