“Why do you want to interview them together?” a few people asked me in India. Something to do with wanting to hold up the best exemplars in our community. Not perfect people, not “famous” people, just Dharma farers who have given their lives to working for the benefit of others. Also, they were there! And I was there. And I might never get the chance again…
I hardly know either Lokamitra or Subhuti. But I’ve long been aware of their influence on my life: on the training I received years ago as a member of a Buddhist community who aspired to ordination; on the context for that training itself, and its subsequent unfolding through ordination. Their long light has helped illuminate the landscape of my own ‘practice’ (they did not love my use of that word!). So I was appreciative, and curious, and intrigued, and simply ‘into’ the idea of seeing if we could get them in the same room at the same time and (re-)introduce them to a generation of Triratna folk who may or may not know much about them at all.
They were very gracious about the attempt and flexible within their formidable schedules. I suspect they are more amenable to doing these kinds of things than people might imagine. “You only have to ask…” they both said. I felt that I got to know them a little more doing and editing the interview: their personalities and the character of their respective discourses seemed clearer somehow, even though I have heard them speak many times in Dharma talks through the years.
And like any good conversation, it went places I hadn’t expected and left me with questions that I didn’t quite have clearly in mind beforehand. What about Subhuti’s views around the internet in relation to real life practice? Is Lokamitra’s intuition about China in the future likely to come to pass? And how seriously do I take my own ‘practice’ online of trying to really, deeply, even profoundly, bear people in mind? Well, this interview and these men have certainly stayed with me since we talked together in that noisy old restaurant at the Galaxy Hotel, Bodh Gaya, home of the fastest internet connection in town. And as I’ve enjoyed bearing them in mind since then, it was a distinct pleasure to revisit our time together in editing and preparing the interview for FBA and The Buddhist Centre Online. I hope you’ll enjoy listening and continue to support us in our efforts to bring you compelling Dharma content and help you stay connected to the wonderful community of practice that is Triratna!