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Meeting the Buddha ~ Changing the World

On Sat, 31 August, 2013 - 16:26
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We have an amazing array of speakers in our FBA Podcasts and Dharmabytes this month. From Lokabandhu on changing the world, to Maitrisara on meeting suffering, to Subhuti, Dayamala and Vishvapani on meeting the Buddha in reality, in myth and in history. Such wonderful diversity!

Lokabandhu explores how Buddhists might take on the heroic task of affecting the world for the better in “A Buddhist Approach to Changing the World.” After reviewing the Buddhist concept of conditionality, he draws on examples such as Dr. Ambedkar and Triratna’s paradigm of the ‘New Society’ to illustrate how lasting social and personal change might successfully be brought about. Given at Buddhafield’s Green Earth Awakening event in May of 2013.

In celebration of Sangharakshita’s birthday this month we marked the occasion with Vidyamala’s talk titled “Awareness is Revolutionary”. We released this as our weekly Podcast just before his birthday as a tribute to one of Bhante’s most revered and treasured aphorism. In “Awareness is Revolutionary,” by Vidyamala, we are encouraged to change our minds to change the world, as she speaks about the life-changing power of awareness.

And to bring the month to a close, Subhuti steps things up with a rousing call to take the Buddha’s invitation to meet him in reality. Titled, “Meeting the Buddha in Reality,” this is the the third talk in the LBC Buddhophany series. To do this we need to engage with the Buddha on the level of history and myth.


In addition to our weekly FBA Podcast we go treasure hunting through our huge collection of talks to bring you our FBA Dharmabytes Podcast two times a week. These jewels, these Dharma treasures, these thought-provoking gems are little gifts we offer for inspiration and reflection. It’s amazing what can be conveyed in just a few minutes when it comes to the Dharma.

This recap starts mid-month when we uncovered “The Burning Monk” an excerpt from Devamitra’s riveting talk “Quang Duc” given at the London Buddhist Center. In this segment Devamitra discusses the motivations behind Quang Duc’s self-immolation in Vietnam and its after-effects, which raises many challenging questions about ethics and acting for the sake of others. An excellent talk – don’t miss the rest of it!

Next up Maitrisara talks about the unique challenge of our age, having a global awareness of suffering, and she opens up the basic question for Buddhists – how do we engage with it meaningfully? “Meeting Suffering” was given as the last talk of Dharmapala college’s “40 years of the New Society” seminar.

Going back to our root teacher, the next FBA Dharmabyte is an excerpt from Sangharakshita’s 1976 talk “A Blueprint for a New Society.” Entitled “Changing Self and Society” he discusses two common views regarding changing the world – changing the system, and changing the individual – and how they are not mutually exclusive.

Then Vishvapani looks back to the Buddha’s day in the next FBA Dharmabyte – introducing his book Guatama Buddha in a talk called “The Buddha and Society.” In this segment, “The Buddha in Relation to His Society” he looks at how the Buddha likely engaged with the political and social atmosphere of the times. Did he have a concern with the larger sphere of social life, and does the approach we take as Buddhists in the modern era need to be different?

And finally, we are projected into the world of myth with a Dharma gem from Dayamala’s talk on “Building the Buddhaland.” In this Dharmabyte titled “Five Hundred Parasols” Dayamala references the early chapters of the Vimalakirti Nirdesa as a poetic example of the relationship between individual spiritual practitioners and the greater universe of all sentient beings and the Cosmic Bodhicitta.


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