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Spiritual Transmission and Lineage

by Saddhanandi

'Spiritual Transmission and Lineage' is a detailed, intimate and heartfelt talk from Saddhanandi looking at the relationship between a Dharma follower and her/his teacher. The talk takes as its lead-off point, David Smith's criticisms of the FWBO as lacking relationship with a 'vertical dimension' in its systems of practice. It's a sympathetic and open response, but one that is also happy to have confidence in an inside experience of practice that arrives at different conclusions. Saddhanandi revisits Sangharakshita's own take on the problems faced by practitioners in a contemporary spiritual community, and, with the help of a good sprinkling of quotes and stories from other traditions, she explores the nature of the Sangha as the possible ground for insight itself to arise.

Please note, this talk has variable sound quality throughout.

Talk given at the Western Buddhist Order Women's Convention, Wymondham 2007

Tracks (click play to listen)

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1. Saddhanandi's thanks to the women who've helped shape her; a response to David Smith's criticisms of the Western Buddhist Order (3:02) 
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2. Sympathy with David Smith's criticism of the (F)WBO as too focused on friendship; the vertical element - relationship between 'the authentic spiritual teacher' and the student or disciple (2:45) 
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3. On 'Is a Guru Necessary?' by Sangharakshita; what a guru is and is not; points of agreement - a required relationship (2:37) 
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4. Quotes on teacher-student relationships; Andrew Harvey on infantilism; Tenzin Palmo on the difference between a guru and a teacher; getting on with understanding the Three Jewels (1:56) 
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5. Is there a vertical dimension in the Order? Practices that "go to Crewe but not to Glasgow"; the danger of restrictiveness (2:31) 
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6. Sangharakshita on a threefold lineage in the FWBO - teaching, practice and inspiration; Stream Entry and freedom from the first three fetters (4:42) 
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7. Sangharakshita on not needing new teachers and practices; taking deeper what you already know; Tenzin Palmo's teaching from the togdens (4:05) 
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8. (N.B. Poor sound in places during this clip) Sangharakshita on going deeper into his own teachings; formal structures of practice in the FWBO compared to other traditions (4:38) 
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9. Sangharakshita on finding your own inner guru; spiritual reference points and authority in your life; the collective Order as the 'vertical relationship' (3:40) 
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10. Pema Chodron on the Dharma and Sangha in place of a personal teacher; a community as a coral reef; knowing the 'pollutions' you bring to a situation - giving others permission to engage with you (2:52) 
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11. Jack Kornfield on spiritual community and living collectively; having confidence in the Order and 'Buddha pride' in our practice; developing Sangha as the authentic teacher - giving permission (4:01) 
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12. Engaging in terms of insight practice - developing a language; 'selfing', views and ego-clinging - shoring ourselves up; some quotes (2:37) 
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13. Community and the future of Buddhism in the west; Joanna Macy and Thich Nhat Hanh on collective practice as a foundation of Awakening; Sangharakshita on the development of Buddhism through different cultures (3:28) 


Total running time: 42:54

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