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We provide transcribed talks by 35 different speakers
Sheila Groonell, Aryaloka, USA
Padmavajri, East Sussex
Ratnaghosha, FBA Chairman
Mary, FBA Team
Ratnavyuha, Auckland, NZ
Kamalashila, Catalunya, Spain
Candradasa, FBA Team
Viriyalila, FBA Team
1'Masculinity' & 'femininity' as confusing concepts
2Developing femininity in men's communities
4Negative attitudes to things given up
4Confusing 'masculinity' and 'femininity' - traditional terms preferable
5Nature of cynicism
6Avidya and moha; trsna, lobha, dvesa
11Session Twenty-Nine: 15.10.81
Brahmin justification for treatment of lower castes
2Logical arguments against the atman view - general woolliness
of Indian thinking
4Indian view that Buddhism & Hinduism identical
8Caste system in India
10Shivaji: Maharashtrian hero
13The British and the caste system
15 Why can't women be reborn as Maras?
16Ethical implications of the atman view
16Schools of Vedanta
18No ultimate metaphysical entity in Buddhism
19Indian caste system: legality - practice - in other religions - in Sri
20 - 23Nikayas in Sri Lankan Sangha
24Session Thirty - On health & fitness, old age, disease, etc.: 25.10.81
Connection between health & metta - taking care of oneself
2Bhante's sceptical attitude to medical treatment in general
3- and to alternative medicine
5Inoculations & vaccinations
5Desirability of starting spiritual life at young age
7National Insurance and the NHS
9Importance of diet
10Preparation for growing old
14Bhante's avoidance of exercise
19Dealing with pests, e.g. mice and insects
19Value of own life v others
23Importance of aesthetic surroundings
30 Session Thirty-One - On Personal Responsibility: 29.10.81
Responsibility for self involving responsibility for others
1Responsibility - Objective and subjective
3- Specific and general 3- in work situations, especially co-ops
4Overworking oneself is irresponsible
5You can't push people who don't want to be pushed
6Responsibility in co-ops - Part-time workers
6- 'Overall' responsibility
8- 'Ultimate' responsibility
9Responsibilities of Mitras
11Hierarchy of responsibility
13'Being good' and doing things for the wrong reasons
14'Being yourself' means being your best self
15In principle every OM is responsible for the whole movement.
7Session Thirty-One (and/or Thirty-Two?) On the FWBO &
Other Buddhist Groups and Other Religions: 1.11.81
Is it worth studying other forms of Buddhism?
1Dealing with the fact that OMs don't wear robes
3People's need for authority and certainty
4Dealing with people in robes
5Going along to other groups
6Entertaining members of other groups - are they really open to communication? 7Attending 'interfaith gatherings'
7When should you use your ordained name?
9'Representing' the FWBO or Buddhism
9Mitras going along to other groups
11 'Official' contact with other groups
12Dealing with other groups errors about Buddhism
121s the Buddhist Society official representative of Buddhism?
15Lobbying the media
16Are there any bodhisattvas working in the West at present?
18How can Buddhism deal with Christianity? Possibility of paganism
19Legal status of the Order and of Order Members
21Session Thirty-Four - Concluding Remarks: 29.11.81
Dedication of concluding remarks
1Significance of the course
3Previous similar course in India
7Returning to the world
8Getting people to recognize that you've changed
9You have a lot to give
12Very easy to lose what you've gained
13Need to be wary of casual talk about meditation practice
15Need to keep in touch with each other and with Bhante
17Three things Bhante would like to see:
- Less psychologising; more emphasis on Dharma
19- More Kalyana Mitrata
20- Importance of Aid for India
22Appendix - Some Notes on the Communication Exercises: 22.9.81
Notes on Bhante's instructions and comments while leading communication exercises. See
also Session Eleven for subsequent questions and answers. Notes by Prajnananda.
Q&A: Tuscany and Preordination Retreats at Padmaloka on Mitrata Omnibus.
7. Noble family-Kulaputta
9. Growth of the Arya-Sangha
15. Dhyana-The Buddha's normal state of mind ?
17. Origin of taboo on homosexuality
19. Violent sport and the first Precept
20. Bhante' 5 views on Unilateral Disarmament
22. Explanation of the third Precept
23. Points in teaching the Metta Bhavana Practice
27. Christian experience of Stigmata
28. Other terminology for Growth and Development ?
30. Discursive thought in meditation
32. Experiencing the Deva-realms
34. Gods of the Round and the Path ?
37. Stream Entrants and ill-will
38. The Censure of Ananda
40. Christian Gnosticism
41. Animals and Karma and Instinct
44. Extremism in spiritual life
46. The nature of the insight experience
51. The Buddha's experience of Dhyana
51. Dhardo Rimpoche's work
54. The nature of Culture
58. New forms and etiquette in the FWBO
58. Criticism and Fierce Friendship
61. The significance of The Buddha's last meal
63. Dhyana experiences and sense perception
69. Stupa visualization
71. Honesty and the Jesuit's Mental Reservation
75. Origins of the Three Gateways to Liberation Teaching
78 ... and association with Visualization Practice
83. Difference between Akasa and western conception of Space
84. Akasa and stupa visualization
85. Akasa with respect to Abhidharma classification
87. Bertrand Russell.
Some Notes on the Communication Exercises
Subsequent to Bhante leading communication exercises at Il Convento in 1981, and to
discussion with others on the course, I made some notes on the instructions and comments he
gave. It has been suggested that these might prove of interest and use. At the risk of restating
what may seem obvious to some, I have included everything that I noted, even small details.
When people have sat down in facing pairs, check to see that the pairs are spread out, not
bunched or too close together. Check also that lighting is adequate and that no one is
distracted by light shining in their eyes.
Then explain what you're going to do, the general purpose of the exercises; this is not always
done. Explain that many of us are quite blocked in communication because we're not really
aware of the other person, and so we don't get as much out of communication as we might,
and therefore we may find these simple exercises useful in helping us to develop greater
awareness both of other people and ourselves.
Then give general preliminary instructions: eyes should be about level; sit on a cushion if
necessary. Try to do without spectacles if possible; they are sometimes a defence. Sit in a
straightforward, upright but relaxed posture, neither rigid nor slumped; hands resting on
knees or in the lap, not clasped tightly.
Exercise One: "Just Looking"
In this exercise the two participants just look at each other. There is no need to stare fixedly
or try to have an effect, such as causing laughter or suspicion. 'If you look, you will see.'
Start the exercise and, while it goes on, remind them to sit upright; to keep the head straight,
not twisted or tilted; not to lean forward aggressively or shrink back defensively; not to cross
the legs or arms - these can all be barriers. Also tell them that there is nothing wrong in
laughing, or even crying, if it comes up.
Exercise Two: "Acknowledging" or "Responding"
Explain the exercise and perhaps have it demonstrated by a more experienced pair. During the
exercise, explain that people should direct their communication to the other person, not let it
'fall short' or 'overshoot'. And acknowledgement should not 'cut in' to the initiating phrase -
allow time to receive before responding. Nor should it be timid or apologetic. Perhaps have
these faults demonstrated before repeating the exercise with partners swapping initiating and
By now, you should have observed how each pair is getting on and you may want to change
people around. Either both partners may be too blocked to help each other - very blocked
persons should be put with someone quite experienced - or games may be going on - sexual
games in a mixed pair or power games in a male pair. It is sometimes good to swap around
anyway if there is time.
Exercise Three: "Exchanging"
Don't cram this one into the session; perhaps just do exercise two twice and finish with "Just
It is hard to generate the necessary 'opening up' atmosphere with too few people. Perhaps
twelve, i.e. six ...