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Recollections and Reflections on My Going Forth

by Sangharakshita

In 'Recollections and Reflections on My Going Forth', Sangharakshita revisits his time as a wandering 'Dharma Farer' in the India of the 1940s. The occasion for this colourful set of stories and related insights is the 60th anniversary of his decision to 'Go Forth' into the homeless life, in line with the oldest Buddhist traditions. Sangharakshita is in fine, thoughtful, at times even mischievous form as he heads into his 83rd year, and, as usual, is uncompromising in his vision of the spiritual life as a vital challenge to the comfortable mores of our times.

This talk was given at the Western Buddhist Order International Men's Convention, and contains an introduction and closing remarks by Padmavajra.

Talk given at Padmaloka Retreat Centre, August 2007

Tracks (click play to listen)

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1. Padmavajra - introduction to "our Precious Teacher" (2:25) 
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2. Sangharakshita - India's independence and violent partition; in Kasali, East Punjab (2:13) 
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3. The 18th of August 1947 - Sangharakshita's 'Going Forth'; following the traditional example of the Buddha; the Buddha's own Going Forth (2:54) 
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4. From home to homelessness; Sangharakshita's family home destroyed by a V1 rocket (2:37) 
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5. Background to the decision; feelings at the time; preparations; possessions - then and now (4:19) 
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6. The period of Going Forth; seeing India and being at home there; first visit to the holy places of Buddhism; pilgrimage - treading the same roads as the Buddha; remembering Ratnaketu; landscape bringing the scriptures and the Buddha to life (6:59) 
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7. Begging for food - a training in humility as a part of gratitude; accepting whatever goes in the bowl (6:48) 
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8. Sleeping arrangements; identity and Going Forth; having 'multiple identities'; not over-identifying with any one identity; identity and the Western Buddhist Order - being in an Order chapter; not an opposition to other Buddhists (6:45) 
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9. Caste discrimination - ubiquitous and in unexpected places; caste in two Hindu ashrams; non-dualism in Hindu philosophy as opposed to social practice; Swami Ramdas (6:20) 
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10. Simple living; the need for institutions; the value of the Buddhafield project; organisation (4:39) 
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11. Appreciation for the wandering life; no regrets about not pursuing formal monastic training; Going Forth as a necessity all the time in some form; the danger of settling down; Going Forth as an integral part of Going for Refuge (5:23) 
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12. Padmavajra - thanks and closing remarks (3:36) 


Total running time: 54:58

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