‘After Dark’-style conversations *** COMING SOON ***
Nov27

‘After Dark’-style conversations *** COMING SOON ***

‘After Dark’-style conversations *** COMING SOON *** A relaxed open-ended conversation In March 2020, on the day after the British prime minister Boris Johnson announced the UK Government’s ‘no-gatherings’ policy, I felt compelled to help the public cope by launching daily meditation teaching sessions on Facebook Live. Over time these turned into a series of themed talks that I uploaded to my YouTube channel ‘Compassionate Response to Covid-19 with Mahabodhi.’ In the third series, called ‘Meet the Order,’ I interviewed one, sometimes two, members of the Triratna Buddhist Order, whose experience consisted in one case of 46 years of ordination. The tone of these interviews – particularly when I interviewed two order members together, was like a relaxed and easy chat amongst friends, that ranged around various topics and attained a certain level of subtlety and depth. These ‘chats’ reminded me of the revolutionary Saturday night discussion programme on Channel 4 television ‘After Dark‘ which aired between 1987 and 2003. With a format commencing at midnight and running open-endedly through the night, discussions often lasted for three hours, lending themselves to quite nuanced argument. According to Wikipedia: After Dark earned a remarkable spread of critical enthusiasm, from the Socialist Worker (“my favourite chat show”) and The Guardian (“one of the most inspired and effective uses of airtime yet devised”), and The Daily Telegraph (“A shining example of late-night television”), to more media focussed journals such as the BFI’s Sight & Sound (“often made The Late Show look like the Daily Mirror“) and even the US showbiz bible Variety in its review of the year (“compulsive for late-night viewers”).[5] The Listener magazine called it “The programme in which you can see the people think”. Open Media – the production company who made After Dark, has very recently released short excerpts from their iconic programmes onto their YouTube channel. With this in mind I had the idea to organise similar discussions – though maybe less political, between experienced Triratna Buddhists and significant non-Buddhist figures in the wider world, in the hope that deeper nuances of Buddhist thought and experience might come into contact with both societal institutions and mass culture, to the mutual benefit of all. I propose a couple of models – one from Buddhism and one from Positive Psychology –  could provide a suitable template for organizing these discussions. Reginald Ray’s Threefold Model of Buddhism The Buddhist teacher Reginald Ray explains how the Buddhist tradition has functioned over the centuries by referring not to the traditional twofold division of Buddhist; into monk and lay practitioner, but instead to a threefold model of Buddhism, consisting of: The Forest Renunciant By...

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