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Contents of Precepts of the Gurus - 4th Seminar

by Sangharakshita


[Study based on the Chapter entitled:
'The Supreme Path, The Rosary of Precious Gems'
found in
"A BUDDHIST BIBLE", edited by Dwight Goddard,
1970 edition, Beacon Press, Boston, USA.
(ISBN 0-8070-5951-X)]
1 'The Ten Resemblances wherein one may err'
1-6 (1) Desire may be mistaken for faith
5 'Desiring' to Go for Refuge
6 Initially seeing the Spiritual Community as a group
Desire for the Sangha
7 Desire for the Buddha
Seeing Buddhahood as a position to be appropriated
The Buddha and the cakravartiraja (wheel turning king)
Not being able to distinguish between positive qualities in their mundane sense
and their transcendental sense
8 Desire for the Dharma
8-9 Mistaking desire for faith
10 You cannot have enlightenment for yourself
11 (2) Attachment many be mistaken for benevolence and compassion
11 'Strong' emotions
12 Metta and attachment
12-13 Benevolence and attachment
13-14 Metta should spark off metta
14 The difference between benevolence and compassion
Metta, karuna and mudita
15-16 Parents giving to children not out of genuine positive emotion
16-17 (3) Cessation of thought processes may be mistaken for the quiescence of
infinite mind, which is the true goal.
16-17 Misunderstandings about what meditation is
17 Passing from the first to the second dhyana
17-25 From Samatha to Vipassana
20 Three thought processes ...
1. as a hindrance
2. as a support for the development of Insight
3. related to the means of expression of Insight
21 The second dhyana
Meditation being more dynamic and more truly calm
22 What is discursive thought?
22-23 Gautama the Buddha's discovery of the path of vipassana
23-25 Vipassana without a prior samatha experience - 'dry vipassana'
25-28 (4) Sense perceptions (or phenomena) may be mistaken for revelations (or
glimpses) of Reality
26 Three types of vision (similar to the three types of thought process listed
27 (5) A mere glimpse of Reality may be mistaken for complete realization
27-29 Not settling down in any experience - even Enlightenment
Questioning every experience
'You are either going forward or going backward'
29 Mara
30-35 Next Session (6) Those who outwardly profess, but do not practise, religion
may be mistaken for true devotees.
31-33 Distinctive dress for particular vocations/professions
35-38 A religion becoming part of the 'establishment'
36 Living in a community is a sure way of testing if people are only outwardly
professing to be 'religious'
37-38 Integrating our desire to meditate/practise with meditating/practising and
38-39 The clergyman as a figure of fun
39 Bethnal Green is officially the least Christian part of Britain!
41 Not seeing the Christian Church as a spiritual body generally
41-45 (7) Slaves of passion may be mistaken for masters of yoga who have liberated
themselves from all conventional laws.
Tantric yogis liberated from conventional laws i.e. by 'killing' someone
42 Conventional and natural morality
43-46 Going by one's own experience
46-48 (8) Actions performed in the interest of self may be mistakenly regarded as
being altruistic.
48-49 Not questioning peoples' motives too readily
49-50 Thinking about how to vote at political elections, national and local
Buddhists becoming elected on to local borough councils
50 (9) Deceptive methods may be mistakenly regarded as being prudent.
The four moral virtues - justice, temperance, prudence and fortitude
51-54 Being honest in business dealings
54-55 'Deceiving' an institution
55-56 Taxation and some objections to it
57 The belief of some groups, including Christians, that violence is morally
58-59 Religious organizations functioning on neurotic energy
59 (10) Charlatans may be mistaken for Sages.
61 A Pali or Sanskrit word for 'individual'?
The Pudgalavadins being heretical?
64 The charlatan as the group leader
The next session ...
'The Ten Things Wherein One Erreth Not'
(1) In being free from attachment to all objects, and being ordained a bhikshu
into the Holy Order, forsaking home and entering upon the homeless state, one
doth not err.
65 Going Forth from the group
66 Going Forth from the parental group
Can we Go Forth from the National group?
68 Learning other languages
69 Catholics and the effect of the Virgin Mary, especially on women
70 'You cannot leave the (Catholic) Church
71 Trying to get away from the Indian caste system
71-76 The class system in Britain and class mobility
75 Balancing mental work and physical work
75-78 Ideological gender stereotypes
78 Going forth in all sorts of ways all of the time
78-79 The danger of settling down and the danger of restlessness (in communities)
79 (2) In revering one's spiritual preceptor one doth not err.
80 Spiritual communities themselves have their ups and downs
81 Metta in contact with something spiritually superior becomes faith or
Metta as the foundation of all tine metta
81-82 Reacting to the group is not necessarily Going Forth from it
82 (3) In thoroughly studying the Doctrine, hearing discourses thereon, and
reflecting and meditating upon it, one doth not err.
83 Listening, reflecting and meditating - savanamaya, cintamaya and
bhanavanamaya panna (Pali)
84 (4) In nourishing lofty aspirations and a lowly demeanour one doth not err.
85-88 False humility
87-90 (5) In entertaining liberal views (as to religion) and yet being firm in observing
(formal religious) vows one doth not err.
88 Being liberal and not really caring
89 Buddhists worshipping Hindu gods?
90-92 A split between reason and emotion in the Theravada
92 (6) In having greatness of intellect and smallness of pride, one doth not err.
93 Knowing more than you are
94 A bloated intellect, not a developed one
96 Pride used in its positive sense
96-97 English literature. Discovering and rediscovering the Classics
98 Next Session
(7) In being wealthy in religious doctrines and diligent in meditating upon
them one doth not err.
99 Not regarding lectures and study as entertainment
Knowing the doctrines simply because one is interested in them, not to attain a
Buddhist qualification
100 (8) In having profound religious learning, combined with knowledge of things
spiritual and absence of pride, on doth not err.
100-102 Profound religious learning
102 Each of the major Mahayana Sutras is a world in itself
How much do you need to study?
103 More and more of less and less
The significance and function of The Precepts of the Gurus
The oral tradition in Buddhist teaching
103-104 Reading too much but not studying enough
104 Building up a personal library of, say, 10 or 12 books
Knowing a few texts extremely well - even by heart
105 (9) By passing one's whole life in solitude and meditation, one doth not err.
106 Solitude leads to naturally meditating
107-109 What is a completely solitary retreat?
Absence of all external distraction
110 Solitude being seen as a punishment
111 Talking to the cat in silent periods on retreat
The imagination of children
(10) In being unselfishly devoted to doing good to others, by means of wise
methods, one doth not err.
Taking on the sufferings of the world
Needing to be stable and psychologically positive if dealing with people in
disturbed states
113-114 Trying to help people who do not really want to be helped
117 The need for more skilled/specialized people in the FWBO
The difficulty of trying to combine karate and meditation
118 A need for consensus on what needs to be done (in communities)
119 General impressions of the study
119-120 Did Bhante have any problems when he threw away his passport when in
India? Forming positive habits

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