Buddhist Centre Features

Abhaya - Following an Inner Calling (Full Interview)

On Thu, 27 October, 2022 - 10:28
Zac's picture
Zac

Growing up in Chorley, Lancashire, in the northwest of England, Abhaya (1936-2022) recalls his early life as the youngest of four siblings, raised by parents who were run off their feet. With Dad away at the war, mum managed a small chip shop in which he and his brothers used to help out. Following in the footsteps of his older brother Jack, Abhaya would later spend several years at a Catholic Seminary, a period he jokingly characterizes as being like 12 years imprisonment. Christianity plays a strong conditioning factor in the early part of Abhaya’s life, the northwest being “rife with Catholicism” and his older brother going on to become a priest. Yet Abhaya’s path would stray off that given course, and in the 1960s he travelled to Thailand where his life would well and truly change, meeting his future wife and encountering the counter-culture of the ’60s and ’70s. Returning to England he would then come into contact with Urgyen Sangharakshita and the very beginnings of the Western Buddhist Movement.

Satyalila had the pleasure of interviewing Abhaya back in 2018 and this conversation is the sequel to another Buddhist Voices podcast episode, Abhaya On Beauty and The Imagination as Ways to Liberation, which came out shortly after that meeting. Satyalila enjoyed their conversation so much that she felt it warranted another! This previously unreleased recording takes us through Abhaya’s life in chronological order and in more detail, covering ground not touched on before.

As someone who was there from the very early days of the Triratna Buddhist Order and community, Abhaya’s depth of experience and wisdom shines through, often in the most unassuming manner. This is a poignant and honest account of what happens when working out the needs of our spiritual life involves a sense of conflict, and requires some deeper resolution. 

Listen now, and enjoy two friends talking through a life lived with meaning and purpose.

Extracts from this talk were used for the Fifty Years, Fifty Voices project:

Visit the Fifty Years, Fifty Voices on The Buddhist Centre Online

Recorded in Bristol, 2018. 

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