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In the Bleak Midwinter

by Parami

This is a gem of a talk, with a wintery theme.

Parami starts by singing 'In the Bleak Midwinter' by Christina Rossetti. She then goes on to bring out the underlying meaning of some of the imagery in the poem.

The first metaphors are about bleakness, with the earth as hard as iron and water like a stone, times when we struggle and it seems as if no growth is possible. She talks about her early experience of doing the metta bhavana and what a radical practice it is.

Then in contrast to bleakness she talks about the image of light on snow, very beautiful and magical, a symbol of newness and purity, and an antidote to bleakness.

She then talks about angels and about metta developed to its fullest extent. In the last verse the words are, 'Yet what I can give him; I give him my heart.' In this way we will give fully and appropriately.

Lastly Parami recaps the theme of transformation running through her talk. Transformation is possible because of the impermanent and insubstantial nature of everything. She ends by singing one of a Milarepa's songs about the transitory nature of all phenomena called, 'The Eight Wondrous Things.'

This talk was given in December 2010 at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre.

Talk (click play to listen)


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In the Bleak Midwinter (1:02) 


Total running time: 1:02

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