July 2nd, 2012
June 18th, 2012
Today’s FBA Dharmabyte, “Mahayana Scriptures” by Nagapriya is an overview of the vast literature of Mahayana Buddhism. He discusses how the new texts emerged, why so many are still preserved, and how they found legitimacy in the larger Buddhist tradition. In the full talk, Mahayana Buddhist Scriptures, he further explores ow Mahayana texts are different than those of the Pali Canon, why they emphasize imagination and myth, and why it remains useful for modern Buddhists to explore them despite their length and repetition.
Talk given at Manchester Buddhist Centre, 2009
This talk is part of the series Visions of Mahayana Buddhism.
June 24th, 2010
Viriyalila started working for this dynamic team-based right livelihood project last fall, and is enjoying the work of doing a face-to-face, grass-roots, ground-up fundraising tour. With two visits to the UK this spring, and presentations planned for the US this summer, she’s been keeping very busy!
She writes ~
When my good friend Candradasa asked if I would consider taking the lead on Free Buddhist Audio’s fundraising campaign, my immediate thought was that I just wasn’t qualified. I have loads of experience working in management and bookkeeping, but none in fundraising. But as we talked, I recollected how much of a fan I have been of Dharmachakra tapes since I first became a mitra. Had I not had access to listening to the lectures that Sangharakshita had given over the years, it is possible that I may not have become a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order. And as I am comfortable with technology, love the internet, and am keen to learn new things, why not give it a try? We strategized for nearly six months, and as I faced a steep learning curve, I found myself coming back time and time again to a strong sense of faith ~ both in the project itself, representing the transmission of the Dharma, and also in the sangha, because without people to learn and live the Dharma, there would be no point!
As I began my training period and made my way through Google Analytics for the freebuddhistaudio.com website, I slowly began to take in just how many people we were contacting, which I found deeply inspiring. 150,000 users visited in 2009, from 180 different countries spread throughout the world. Here, at freebuddhistaudio.com, so many people from so many different cultures are coming into to contact with our unique approach to the Dharma. Imagining the individual people in Belarus, Slovakia, China, Kentucky, Bolivia… tuning into our Dharma talks, to Bhante Sangharakshita, to my various mentors and teachers in the Order, my friends, oh, how my metta bhavana practice was transformed!
Once the training period was more or less complete, I made all the necessary detailed arrangements to embark on an ambitious UK Centre Fundraising Tour. From my “home” spot in West London, I got to know the UK public transport system very well as I made my way to 18 centers and events around the country in two 3-week tours spanning the months of March through June.
Places I’ve been during this tour…
West London Buddhist Centre (walking distance from where I was based!)
Ipswich Buddhist Centre (in a lovely new space!)
Cambridge Buddhist Centre (fabulous to see our dear friend Aryakanta!)
Bristol Buddhist Centre (made it a day early for a very lively ceilidh!)
Norwich Buddhist Centre (a beautiful city!)
London Buddhist Centre (quite the Triratna hub!)
North London Buddhist Centre (gorgeous Tara glass painting!)
Croydon Buddhist Centre (lovely back garden!)
Sheffield Buddhist Centre (where an abandoned church is now an amazing centre, complete with a gold-leafed standing Buddha in the bell tower!)
Manchester Buddhist Centre (the archetypal Triratna mandala of businesses, centre & community!)
Birmingham Buddhist Centre (celebrating Wesak with a talk from Parami!)
Newcastle Buddhist Centre (again, celebrating Wesak!)
International Sangha Retreat at Taraloka (speaking to 400 plus people!)
Brighton Buddhist Centre (what a lively, harmonious sangha!)
National Women’s Order Weekend, Taraloka (inspiring to encourage more support for Women teachers in our archive)
Glasgow Buddhist Centre (do they speak English here? Just kidding! A lively, playful sangha here…)
Each center was slightly different yet unified in our commitment to the Three Jewels and to Sangharakshita’s translation of the Dharma. We are quite a diverse group!
My Free Buddhist Audio
The presentation took on slightly different formats, but primarily was a one-hour talk expounding on the projects history, core values, current developments, and future envisionings. I particularly enjoyed selecting and sharing what we are now calling Dharmabytes ~ a few minutes of Dharma nuggets from the Free Buddhist Audio treasure chest. The three tracks I found myself coming back to throughout the tour were: Sangharakshita, The Buddha, God and Reality, Track 5: The Buddha and Reality (1966); Srivati, Becoming a Citizen of the Present, Track 7, Reality as Change, Poetry and Impermanence (2001); and Kulananda, Mindfulness of Reality, Section 3:41-8:17 (this talk is not yet tracked) (2000). Sign up for our podcast to receive your Dharmabytes!
As we listened to these Dharma Jewels, I brought out the core values underlying this project, namely: providing free, wide-spread access to the Dharma; providing an opportunity to hear various teachers with different lifestyles and ways of teaching; and encouraging the re-invigoration of listening to talks together in groups, to share the working out of Dharmic principles much like in the spirit of how the Buddha originally taught, as an Oral Tradition.
Sangharakshita and FBA
I am personally very inspired by upholding the Oral Tradition and this was one of the topics of discussion when I met with Sangharakshita in his library at Madhyamaloka in Birmingham. He said, “We know that speech is a very powerful medium of communication. We know that the Buddha’s words spoken from, as it were, from his enlightened consciousness changed the lives of so many people. So that tradition of oral presentation of the Dharma has continued right down to the present day. Even though we have printed books many people do find that they learn more quickly and easily from the spoken word.”
It makes Bhante particularly happy to think that talks that he himself gave years, even decades ago, to relatively small audiences, are now through freebuddhistaudio.com reaching perhaps tens even hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.
This is Part I of a two-part blog ~ more to come next week!
ps. The new site has been designed to enable a free service to be kept in place for all. We are now entirely dependent on our community of users for the funds required to maintain and develop FBA. To help us keep going, please think about making a regular or one-off donation.