Day 1: Summoning the World to BuddhahoodOn Sat, 18 March, 2023 - 20:43
It is beautiful to have the privilege to practice with this wonderful group on the ‘Summoning the World to Buddhahood’ retreat at Adhisthana. We gathered for the first session last night in the shrine room with others joining us online. We went around and introduced ourselves and it was powerful to hear everyone’s connection with the Bodhicaryavatara – for many a much loved and seminal text.
I recalled my first encounter with the text in 1987 when Nagabodhi led a weekend on it in New Zealand. I had only been coming to the Auckland Buddhist Centre for a matter of months and didn’t really understand a single word. But I was entranced to find myself in the atmosphere that Shantideva evokes: an outpouring of uncompromising Dharma, devotion and powerful transcendence of petty self-concerns. It feels quite extraordinary to be here again with Nagabodhi 36 years later on the other side of the world! Both of us much older, wrinkled and with grey hair of course, but the longing to receive Shantideva’s message undimmed for us and the others here.
After introducing ourselves Nagabodhi and Saddhanandi went on to introduce the retreat more fully. They have both led many retreats on this theme and have a deep love and knowledge of the text. I know that they, and the others on the team, will take us on quite a journey this week. Nagabodhi recounted how he often feels challenged to the point of sleeplessness by the relentless drum of Shantideva’s teaching and I find myself feeling a certain amount of trepidation as we begin – and I welcome that! I want and need to be challenged.
To end the evening Dhivan led is in a simple three fold puja. The day ended with a strong sense of having embarked on a powerful journey with intrepid companions – into the great mystery and beyond.
Today we gathered in the shrine room at 10.30 to listen the verses being read aloud of Chapter 1: Praise of the Awakening Mind. After a period of silent reflection Nagabodhi then skilfully and elegantly unpacked the key themes, drawing on his own understanding of the text as well as the implications for us of Bhante’s particular emphasis on the Bodhisattva Ideal – an ideal which he describes as “the most sublime ideal ever devised in the human race”. [See my notes: Page one and page two]
Nagabodhi posed some juicy questions to help us reflect on the preciousness of human life stressed in this chapter: “what is the point of life? Who are we really? What are we really?” And he began to unpack the deeper implications of anatta that are so central to the Bodhicaryavatara.
So we are well underway and coursing in the current of the Dharma together – for the sake of all beings.
view our community guidelines for promoting good conversation
Here are key excerpts from our community content guidelines, which are designed to help create a positive environment for everyone:
1. Please be courteous at all times. If you’re engaged in any kind of discussion, be as prepared to listen as you are to express yourself. Remember that there’s always a real person behind a computer/device screen, and they are likely quite different from you.
2. Think twice before posting anything that’s likely to give offence or be inflammatory. That doesn’t promote good conversation. If you’re upset at something you see here, perhaps let a little time pass before responding. Bear in mind this isn’t a space to vent our views, it’s about exploring respectfully with others what it means to be a Buddhist within our community and in the modern world generally.
3. We may remove posts or comments that are considered off-topic.
4. Everyone has off-moments, and we’ll always try to be in friendly dialogue with you if a problem arises with one of your contributions. But we reserve the right to remove posts and comments (or even suspend user accounts) when we feel these guidelines are not observed.
5. Our current editorial policy around Safeguarding is aligned with the advice given by those tasked with developing Triratna’s approach to this important area of ethical life. If anyone breaches current policy by posting in ways that mean The Buddhist Centre Online potentially break the law by hosting the material, then we will have to remove their posts or comments. We respectfully request that all users bear this in mind when posting. If in doubt, please feel free to ask first before posting. It will save time, energy, and lead to less potential polarisation in these spaces, even if there is disagreement.
Whatever you contribute we very much encourage you to think about it in the light of the Buddhist ethical precepts around 'Right Speech'. These encourage communication that is: truthful, kindly and gracious, helpful and harmonious. We look forward to all you have to bring to the site!
We try to keep things light when it comes to moderation of posts and comments within this shared space. And we ask the community itself to lead with this. If you have seen something that concerns you, please feel free to contact us. However, we do ask that you bear in mind the following guidelines, which will help preserve a harmonious atmosphere throughout the site:
Remember there is always a person behind the post or comment you’re objecting to. They may just be having a bad day… If you’re upset, perhaps let a little time pass before responding to them or us. Try contacting the person first in a spirit of open, courteous engagement to see if hearing their perspective changes your own view of things, or if hearing yours changes theirs. Take care to make sure what you are asking us to look at is actually against the spirit of the group or the site itself, rather than simply a difference of view or of personal taste. If in doubt, ask a friend and/or the administrator of the group.
The most important things about this is the first bit: we ask the community to lead with this. That means you! Thanks for helping us promote good conversations on The Buddhist Centre Online.
Read the full set of Community Guidelines