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Contents of London Buddhist Centre - Questions and Answers 1990

by Sangharakshita

THE VENERABLE SANGHARAKSHITA

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
with the EAST LONDON REGION
of the WESTERN BUDDHIST ORDER
at the London Buddhist Centre
Held on six Sunday evenings from 20 May to 24 June 1990
BRIEF SUMMARY OF QUESTIONS ASKED
Page
Summary
1What is the purpose of these question and answer sessions?
2Does Bhante think Order members in the LBC region are questioning his teachings?
4If so, is this a good or bad thing?
5If there is questioning of these teachings, what form or forms does it take?
How should the single-sex principle be explained to homosexuals?
9Would a stronger emphasis on single-sex mean an intense but smaller, Movement?
Will it be possible to have a broad popular base as well as a committed core?
16(1)
Symbols of transformation in the Life of the Buddha. Correlating wisdoms
and poisons.
(2)
The Tibetan Buddhist practice of "staring" into negative emotions. Staying
with the experience until it passes.
21Experimentation with visualizing seed syllables in Roman script, specifically in the
form of the sort of monograms that were popular during the Renaissance.
23(Based on a quote of Thich Nhat Hanh) Can simple awareness of our mental state lead
to a quality of experience not split into subject and object. Is Thich Nhat Hanh
describing awareness leading to an Insight experience?
28Zen and its language of potential Buddhahood.
Do Zen groups create an atmosphere of mindfulness more successfully than the
FWBO does?
36Does the need for confirmation [of Insight] imply incomplete
Enlightenment/Insight? Is Insight always incomplete?
40Is Enlightenment an ongoing process which continually evolves?
41Can and do Order members make a vital contribution to the unity of the Order by
doing their sadhana practices on a daily basis?
44Bhante's thoughts on vasectomy and sterilization, and of Order Members undergoing
these operations. Is there anything in the Dharma by which this
phenomenon
might be assessed?
47The elements and imagery of the Buddha being given the milk rice. Before this was
the Buddha acting from an alienated idealism, cut off from lower natural energies?
56Is Bhante likely to review his recommended age for taking up the life of chastity
again and is he optimistic about the capabilities of Order Members in the West to
take up this life. Is he optimistic about the future strength of the Order from this
point of view?
59Could it ever be spiritually advantageous for an Order Member to resign from the
Western Buddhist Order?
591)
Is there a traditional view or position with regard to someone resigning
from an order or Sangha?
2)
What issues have led people to contemplate resignation from the Order?
3)
Assuming that to resign from the Order would not be spiritually
advantageous, and assuming that to contemplate resignation would therefore
be a personal or spiritual crisis, can Bhante discern any positive or
potentially positive elements in such a spiritual or personal crisis?
66The four criteria for becoming a Mitra
67We do not have criteria for ordination, why then do we have criteria for Mitraship?
In what sense could the four criteria be said to be absolute?
78 Is there a hierarchy of roles within the Order?
Is there anything unskilful in aiming to become a Preceptor?
A Master always substitutes a less onerous duty for a more onerous one.
Comments?
What are the most important factors in assessing whether someone is worthy to be
appointed a Preceptor?
Given that brahmacarya is imperfectly observed by everyone, by what criteria
would Bhante assess whether an anagarika is worthy of being appointed a Preceptor?
Are the criteria for assessing an anagarika as Preceptor more stringent than those for
a simple Order member?
83The relationship between meditation and Dharma practice on the one hand, and
psychotherapies of various kinds on the other.
88The Tara Visualization Practice - What is the significance of the Mahabodhisattvas
in the practice?
Why did Bhante make it explicit a few years ago that "all the Bodhisattvas" meant
these particular eight and what is the significance of us maintaining the tradition of
the Eight rather than visualizing others?
Do the Eight Bodhisattvas relate to the Five Dhyani Buddhas?
97To what extent do we need to be wary of our idealism? Does Bhante feel that we
could be effective if we were to use the language of our ideals as opposed to the
language of growth and development? Is not the point of the goatherd story that we
need each other to nourish us in pursuit of the goal by giving sustenance to our
embryonic idealism?
112Does our expectation and expression that the spiritual life will be difficult for a
woman add to any difficulties she might have? Does such an approach engender a
sense of imagined superiority in men, and how helpful might this be to their
development?
121Has Bhante said that sexual relationships hinder the development of true friendship
with others, especially those of the same sex? If so, why does Bhante have such
doubts about this possibility?
124Bhante's question:
What dharmic material are Order members currently reading?
Cintamaya prajna.
131Changes in Bethnal Green and thinking about how to involve the new influx of
people into the area in Dharmic activities.
...

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