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Audio | view transcript | Other talks from Triratna Buddhist Order

The Dharma and Denial

by Manjuka

"One cannot be what one should be merely by closing one's eyes to what one is." Manjuka's timely talk uses this aphorism by Sangharakshita to explore the often overlooked area of how Buddhist practice can, when misunderstood, lead to an ignoring of suffering in experience, rather than the transcendence of it through applied awareness and compassion. It's strong stuff - and its images encourage us to move beyond easy discourses of salvation to a grasp of the Buddha's teaching that is altogether more subtle and more likely to yield real change in our lives.

N.B. This talk was given to an invited audience of members of the Western Buddhist Order and assumes a degree of familiarity with the order and its history. The word 'Bhante' refers to Urgyen Sangharakshita, the order's founder.

Talk given at Padmaloka Retreat Centre, Men's National Order Weekend, February 2006

Tracks (click play to listen)

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1. The tension that can exist between avoiding suffering and accepting it as part of an authentic spiritual life (4:54) 
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2. The danger of using spiritual practice to shore up a shaky sense of self, hardening rather than freeing up fixed view (6:10) 
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3. Treating feelings as raw data for practice instead of as unskilfulness; dwelling in the gap with awareness and choice (7:17) 
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4. Exploring two seemingly contradictory descriptions of Buddhahood to determine the aim of the spiritual life (4:02) 
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5. Immanence and transcendence; Having perspective on ones experience rather than trying to control what it is (2:42) 
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6. The challenge as modern Buddhists in confronting, not avoiding, our private and collective demons (4:59) 

Total running time: 30:04