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Becoming a Citizen of the Present

by Srivati

A thoughtful, sympathetic talk by Srivati on the most delicate of tasks in any life - how to live in the present moment. Exploring the subtle aspects of past and present, of memory and expectation, we encounter impermanence as the touchstone of our experience through storytelling (Bahiya of the Bark Garment) and the practice of writing - especially poetry. A lovely set of challenges to become 'citizens of the present' and inhabit properly our own potential for change.

Talk given to the Western Buddhist Order national Order weekend, 2001

Tracks (click play to listen)

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1. Living in the present - a Christmas poem; between past and future; the moment after a death; at Il Convento, Tuscany (5:22) 
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2. Siddhartha under the tree; letting go; only the present is our happiness - Goethe; the structure of this talk (2:59) 
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3. The story of Bahiya of the Bark Garment (6:18) 
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4. The five viniyatas - object determining mental events; preparation for meditation and life; chanda (desire, interest); Bahiy (5:31) 
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5. Impermanence; smriti (remembering); mindfulness; working in a shop; the body; slowing down; prajna (wisdom, analytical appreciative understanding) - beyond subject and object (8:23) 
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6. Writing as spiritual practice; poetry, love and awareness; the golden thread; getting out of the way - the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas at play; letting go (7:38) 
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7. Reality as change - poetry and impermanence (5:27) 
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8. Silence and stillness; the pig, the cock and the snake - slowing down the Wheel of Life; pauses (4:16) 
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9. Manu Chao's 'citizen of the present'; from 'The Way of Emptiness' by Sangharakshita - compassion; Virginia Woolf's 'luminous halo' (3:07) 

Total running time: 49:01