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In Retrospect: A Conversation With Sangharakshita

by Sangharakshita

Nagabodhi interviews Sangharakshita in a wide-ranging discussion about the FWBO's history and the continuing process of translating the Buddha's Dharma for the West.

At times the exchanges are more personal than is common as we listen in to questions and answers regarding a variety of historical features of the personal and public life of the founder of a new, radical spiritual community. What emerges is the clear sense of a complex man and of broad vision allied with a remarkable unity of purpose. The consistency of this through all joys and difficulties speaks volumes by itself.

Interview conducted in 2007.

Tracks (click play to listen)

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1. On not being the ideal person to start a Buddhist movement; adapting back to life In the West in the mid-1960s; reading books on Christianity and humanistic psychology (7:18) 
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2. The experience of being ostracised by the English Sangha Trust; a special opportunity for change - the birth of the FWBO as neither monastic nor lay; having a platform and an audience (7:20) 
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3. Differences in creative response to the possibilities in the UK and in India; excitement at the idea of helping build a 'New Society'; the difficulty of taking part in putting it into practice; working with younger, less experienced people and dynamics (7:29) 
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4. The difference between a public and private position on matters affecting spiritual life - sexual relationships; translation of a general statement into a cultural attitude; Croydon in the 1980s - the painful experience of teaching being distorted (7:42) 
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5. The risk of the FWBO losing its edge; reactions to Sangharakshita himself and the unfathomable nature of human beings; his own practice - meditation, reflection, and intuitions about the nature of reality; dreams of his teachers and archetypal dreams (8:03) 
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6. Change and steady growth; drawing inspiration from giving talks; maintaining connection with his teachers; the 'two Sangharakshitas'; passionate intensity; friendship with Terry Delamare (7:51) 
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7. Deciding to have sexual relationships - what the word 'experiment' means to Sangharakshita; wearing robes while being sexually active - neither monk nor lay; on the subject of teachers being sexually active with disciples - two models; on women (9:34) 
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8. Controversy and being prepared to be true to one's values where the Buddha's teaching is concerned; the cutting edge for the changing FWBO; passing on a radical spirit (7:35) 

Total running time: 1:02:52