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Other talks from Portsmouth

Religion Without God, Part 4 - Magic For the Modern World

by Candradasa

The final 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 closing talk, Candradasa takes a personal look at aspects of magic in the East and West, considering its place in Buddhist history and practice and also its meeting with Christianity at the time of the Renaissance. What emerges is a picture of how magic defined in various ways can be a powerful metaphor for the everyday work of Buddhist meditation and ethical practice - with the enchantment of love and wisdom fused the only one we need. The Buddha is the Master of Enchantments and his path - a magical training with him - is available to all. The truly marvelous awaits...

Talk given in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, October 2012.

This talk is part of the series Religion Without God.

Tracks (click play to listen)

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1. Recap of series, ethics, wisdom; meditation practice as magical training (3:24) 
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2. Magic from the public library; Victorian children's literature; A Wizard of Earthsea; magical apprenticeship (2:30) 
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3. Magic through three major phases of Buddhist historical development; Hinayana; Mucalinda Sutta; positive images of the snake (4:52) 
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4. Mahayana - critique of Hinayana; the miraculous in sutras as the metaphor you live inside; the Bodhisattva (2:35) 
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5. Padmavajra's Alchemy of Love; Shantideva and the Bodhicaryavatara; exchange of self and other; the Philosopher's Stone; quickilver (mercury); the Bodhicitta (Bodhichitta) (5:02) 
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6. Ovid's Metamorphoses; the story of Tiresias; Ted Hughes' translation - looking deeply inwards (2:38) 
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7. Vajrayana - Diamond Thunderbolt Way; Tibetan Buddhism; Alexandra David-Neel; magic rites transformed; pacification and destruction (3:43) 
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8. Rite of fascination - the beautiful and charming the hearts of all beings; rite of prospering - King Midas (2:49) 
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9. The rite of protection; the dharani; Prajna Paramita mantra; a guarding spell (2:44) 
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10. Back to St Augustine; Neoplatonism and Renaissance Neoplatonists; Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola (3:44) 
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11. Natural Magic as a basis for looking at meditation; Oration on the Dignity of Man; Pico's trouble's (4:34) 
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12. Nature versus Reality; Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance by Edgar Wind; magic as ethical process; technology as akin to magic - iPads and Asimov (7:12) 
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13. Being interested in what is the case; a practical path not an abstraction; meditation and mindfulness as the basis for seeing; a guided practice on letting go (5:56) 
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14. Vessantara's long retreat - projects and the self; a shot at radical magical transformation; a danger; the importance of kindness to insight; magic spells; the Buddha under the tree; the vision of lotuses, metta, compassion (anukampa); completed by love (8:06) 
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15. The Buddha touches the earth; the marvellous always in reach; the only enchantment you need; Master of Enchantments, Shower of the Way (4:19) 


Total running time: 1:04:08

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