In the first part Silaketu talks about faith, imagination, symbol and myth, and about seeing deeper. Then he goes on to talk about the Cosmic Refuge Tree and how to approach that world of imagery and meaning.
This is the second talk in a series on the Six Paramitas at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre in Summer 2012.
In this talk Dassini looks at the idea that 'the practice of ethics is grounded in Perfect Wisdom' from Living Ethically. She explores how the root defilements of craving, aversion and ignorance are the reasons for us needing an ethical practice.
She also discusses how freeing oneself from fixed self view is an essential fuel to ethical practice and looks at confession and the positive mental events of hri and apatrapya.
This talk was given at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre in 2010.
Padmolka looks at the first section of Padmasambhava's Advice to The Three Fortunate Women from The Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava. She begins by saying a bit about Padmasambhava subduing the demons of Tibet and the circumstances around the time when this teaching is given.
Padmasambhava is asked for a short, practical teaching which can be learned by heart to help Queen Nang Chung to practice the Dharma and ultimately lead her to Buddhahood.
She then goes through the verse, pulling out it's themes and meaning.
Padmavajra begins by reflecting on the incident early after the Buddha's Enlightenment when he looks for someone or something to revere. The Buddha resolves to revere the Dharma. Padmavajra describes the experience of reverence and speaks of it as a human need.
He lists the six garavas or things to be revered, and goes on to speak in more length about the 4th of these, spiritual training, siksa.
He then looks at the Great Stages of the Spiritual Path, which Sangharakshita outlines in a seminar on The Precious Garland by Nagarjuna. This teaching is based on the Five Margas and these reflections are what are eventually developed into the System of Meditation or System of Practice.
These five stages are Integration, Positive Emotion, Vision or Spiritual Death, Transformation or Spiritual Rebirth and Spontaneous Compassionate Activity.
Amoghavajra takes us back 2,500 years to the Kingdom of Magadha in Northern India to the birth of a boy called Kassapa. He grows up happily and as he gets older he becomes less and less worldly. Kassapa marries Bhadda who has equally renunciant tendancies. They both go forth together.
Kassapa meets the Buddha, becomes his disciple and gains Enlightenment. He is known as a superb meditator and was foremost among the bhikkus for practising austerities. According to Amoghavajra's story, one of the teachings that the Buddha gave to Kassapa was to attend to whatever gladdens the heart. So, Amoghavajra asks us, what is it that gladdens your heart?
This is one of a series of talks on the Therigatha, the songs or poems of the nuns at the time of the Buddha.
Gunasiddhi begins begins by saying that the songs are trying to communicate a level of spiritual experience to the hearer.
The talk contains three themes: Going Forth, Friendship and Impermanence. Going forth happened in a variety of ways for different reasons for these nuns. For us, we don't go forth in the same way, but there is a huge variety of ways in which we can go forth, in body, speech and mind.
Friendship is one of the reasons why some women went forth at the time of the Buddha. Gunasiddhi makes the point that real friendship takes a long time to mature, and that generally single sex friendships go deeper.
Impermanence: we hear a poem from a nun who is living in retreat and struggling with experiencing clinging so she reflects on impermanence, whic leads to awakening. So it's not our lifestyle choices by themselves that have an effect. Gunasiddhi also reads some of Ambapali's verses on the impermanence of the body.
This talk was part of a series of talks on the Therigatha. It starts by appreciating what a hard life it must have been for the early bhikkunis. Two verses by elderly nuns, Dhamma and Citta, give rise to reflection on letting go of fixed self view as a major component of breaking through to Enlightenment.
We then hear a verse about no-self from the nun Uttara. This leads on to reflections about how we subtly reinforce a sense of self through feeling embarrassed or irritable.
Then in a further verse we hear the Buddha teaching about breaking the first five fetters. We hear about Stream Entry and the point of Knowledge and Vision of Things as They Are on the spiral path. The talk concludes a verse about letting go of self by Dogen.