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Other talks from Portsmouth

Religion Without God, Part 2 - Sex and Morality, Going Beyond Puritanism

by Candradasa

The second talk in 'Religion without God', a four-part series looking at how you can have a full spiritual life as a 21st Century person without recourse to blind faith or setting yourself against the rational world we find ourselves in. The Buddha faced some of the same dilemmas as us in India in 500 BCE, and we face some new challenges with 2500 years of culture and experience in between his time and our own.

In this talk Candradasa considers the origins of negative views of the body and its desires in relation to spiritual life through the prism of Puritanism and its influences. Tracking the Platonic ideal through St. Augustine we get a sense of the conditioning we seek to move away from as Buddhists while still wrestling with the key questions posed by our own experience of the connection between desire and suffering. The third precept and the Buddha's moral code generally are explored and we get some sense of where we might look to find ways to work effectively with our strongest desires in ways that lessen attachment and help us see reality more clearly.

Talk given in Portsmouth, NH, October 2012.

This talk is part of the series Religion Without God.

Tracks (click play to listen)

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1. Introduction - sex, death, magic; What is Puritanism; St Augustine's reading of the bible (3:55) 
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2. St Augustine's views and Christian thought; why does the body come to be problematic; Plato and the early Neoplatonists (4:06) 
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3. Free will, desire, suffering and discipline; Adam and Eve; seeing clearly (3:50) 
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4. Different responses to the universe; sense experience and a space between feeling and emotional response; looking at what is the case and change (4:11) 
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5. St Augustine's early life - sin, the body and desire; the basis of the Buddha's moral code (2:34) 
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6. The third precept - abstaining from causing harm with sex; stillness, simplicity and contentment; sexual identity and attachment; inaccurate views (3:57) 
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7. Holding to self and other in the face of the universe; a natural instinct - kindness for ourselves; training disciplines and celibacy; a retreat with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso (4:23) 
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8. Not what you do but that you do; what can you do; Lokabandhu's accommodation; reflecting on past relationships (4:25) 
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9. Puritanism as an influence in modern America; fear, confusion and empathy; the madness of the world; the Buddha's alternative; confession (5:49) 
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10. Guilt; hri and apatrapya, hiri and otapa; peace arising (5:50) 

Total running time: 43:00