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Contents of Sutra of Forty - two Sections - New Zealand Unchecked

by Sangharakshita

DISCLAIMER - This transcript has not been checked, and may contain mistakes and mishearings.

SANGHARAKSHITA IN SEMINAR -

THE SUTRA OF FORTY-TWO SECTIONS - NEW ZEALAND
CONTENTS


(N.B. it is necessary to have a copy of the text when studying this seminar)
Page No.


SECTION I
1-4 Preliminaries berore study
4 Meaning of 'Lokagesta'(?) 'Elder Brother of the World' as title of the Buddha.
5-7 Exposition of :'to abandon desire: and 'to rest in quietude', and why this is 'the
greatest of victories'
8 Distinction between 'kamachanda' (?) and 'ahammachanda'
i.e.'sensuous desire' and 'desire for the Dharma'
9-10 distinction between 'desire' and 'craving'
Enjoyment without attachment.
II-12 The four kinds of 'mara'
13 Meaning ofl 'quietude'
13-15 Place of compassion in the teaching of 'the Way'
The teaching as response to 'voicing of individuals' doubts. Meeting specific spiritual needs.
18-19 On use of word 'commanded' - its authoritarian connotations.
20 The precepts as a conscious discipline initially, and as a spontaneous expression of one's being ultimately.
21 Meaning of 'enlightened' and 'Enlightenment'
22-23 Significance of the 'anjali' gesture.

SECTION 2
24-39 The 'sramana' - Leaving home.
25-26 'Going for refuge' - What is the 'homeless Life'?
Discussion on 'life-styles' e.g. Sri-Lankan monks.
28 'Going forth' to the spirituai community.
'Going forth' as 'sitting loose' to any particular situation.
Seeing the conditioned nature of everything.
".....to the extent that you know the conditioned,
~ha knowledge is unconditioned."
31-32 sramana', 'bra~na', 'bni~ku' syhonymous in 'i)hammapada'
The 20 precepts - How these apply
33 Danger of 'Legalism re practising the precepts.
33 The Arahant - Chinese model of Taoist Immortals.
The Arahant - Western modern model of the True Individual.
The 'anagamin'.
'Srotapanas' - The four stages of development
Importance of ' stream-entry'.
38-39 Clearing up misunderstanding of 'negative'tone of tex~.

SECTION 3
The 'sramana' - Putting an end to desire and longings:
41 The reactive process - "seeing the origin or mind"
"Clinging to nothing within"... "seeking for nothing
Without - dogmas, 'ditthis'~ opinions and views-
importance or not absolutising relative truth of views.
44 Transcending the 'unchanging self'
Shackles of absolutisations - one's own dogmas- other people's
- religious - scientific
Wondering nothing, doing nothing"
"Practising nothing and manifesting nothing."
Different sets of stages of spiritual development
The nature of change.

SECTION 4
The'sramana' - "going forth"
5I-52 Significance of the story of the Buddha's renunciation.
53-56 Various implications in past ages -dress, titles, roles
57 Begging - its questionable relevance to today.
58-59 Contentment and simplicity.
60 Problem of the elderly - effects of 'consumerism'
61-63 Food and neurotic craving
64 Working for rewards and working for the fun of it.
65 "Weekend off" syndrome.
66 Epos~of false view:- 'If it doesn't hurt it can't be spiritual growth'.
67 Reward and praise - sensible use re children
68 Harmful attitudes of some Christian theologians -
69 fear of punishment.
70-72 On alienation from one's feelings - need to contact internal source of
inspiration.

SECTION 5
72-78 The Ten Good Acts - The Ten Evil Acts.
72-73 The ten precepts - distinction between 'principle' and 'rule'.
77 'Positive' and 'negative' vows.
78 'Vow' as 'vrata' and 'vow' as 'pranidhana' (Bodhisattva's 'Vrata' as a fetter.
Vow)

SECTION 6
79-85 Having faults and not regretting them.
Distinction between healthy regret and neurotic guilt
81 Seeing consequences of 'having Faults'
Negative feedback not helpful in breaking bad habits.
82 Working on faults - Analogy with weeding.
83-85 Importance of awareness and spiritual friends in overcoming faults.

SECTION 7
86-92 "....if an evil man on hearing etc...." ~ see text
'creating a disturbance' - how this applies to
88 FWBO classes etc. 'Weak' and 'strong' situations.
89 Ways of handling the situation.
90 Implications of "the good attracting disruptive/evil elements. e.g. People
around the Dalai Lama.
91-92 Reminiscences re Dalai lama and Dhardo Rinpoche.

SECTION 8
93-95 Story of the Buddha 'returning the gift' of another man's abuse.
- nature of reactivity -
importance of listening - principle of 'non-retaliation'
94 Value of 'metta' - value of the spiritual community.
95 Importance of physical surroundings i.e. Centres.

SECTION 9
96-98 The psychophysical organism as a lethal weapon.
Sobering reflections on this.

SECTION 10
98-100 "Listen avidly and cherish 'the Way'
Importance of receptivity and wanting to hear
99 Important to appreciate value of meditation, study and puja.
100I mportant to appreciate other people and not treat them in an off-hand way.
101-103 SECTION 11 - "The Way' is hard to reach" - Being in real contact not just having ideas about 'the Way'
102 Need of an ongoing experience of 'going for refuge'
not just reciting the refuges and feeling 'good'
Importance of maintaining a strong desire for the Dharma
Knowledge of the Dharma is tp be shared.
103 Contrast of Buddha's attitude to teaching and that of the Brahmins.

SECTION 12
Significance of giving food - 'punya'
105-109 'merit' - supporting the spiritual community and the spiritually advanced -
traditional Indian attitudes
111-112 Religion as 'magic' - Can work but is not spiritual development.
'The Dharma (Buddhism) is not a social service.'
is not primarily to support -family, social institutions,
political structures, protest movements (e.g. apartheid)
118 The primary function of the Dharma is to help individuals to develop as true
individuals
119 Difficult to convince people of the value of developing individuality. -
Interaction of 'positive group' and spiritual community' -
122-I23 Traumas are not necessary prerequisites for entering the spiritual life i.e.
Buddhism.
I24-125 avoiding extreme attitudes re the 'positive group' and the 'spiritual community
- Definition of extremes

SECTION 13
125-182 The 20 'hard things' for human beings - see Text) -
Comments on each statement.

SECTION 14
183-185 "Preserving the will" -'eliminating desires' and 'seeking nothing
else'
184 Aphorism - "You can only change what you take responsibility for" - "Deal
with the present and you deal with the past."

SECTION 15
184-185 Distinction between 'greatness' and 'goodness ' - Importance of
gaining stream-entry'

SECTION 16
I85-188 "To be able to bear insult without retort implies great power" -
Importance of patience - and developing attitude of non-retaliation.
188 'Brilliance' and 'acme of brilliance' -'samatha' and 'vipassana' - 'calm and clear'

SECTION 17
189-194 "cherishing desires" - implications of this
190 Get in the way of perceiving the Dharma.
190-191 Sexual and erotic desires - erroneous view that one should have sexual and
erotic desires which leads one to concoct and cultivate them.'

SECTION 18
I94 Characteristics of Insight

SECTION 19
194-198 (See text) "Thinking what is beyond thought"
196 Important to use thinking, performing etc. imaginatively.
I98 Application to human communication and relationships
198 On 'being wrong by so much as a thousandth part of a hair' - (see text) - retelling lies etc.

SECTION 20
198-199 On Impermanence

SECTION 21
I99-202 The 'no-self' teaching - how to put this across appropriately.
200-201 Importance of the personality

SECTION 22
203-223 Desire for 'name and fame' - immortality of the body - re 'pop groups', film stars etc.

SECTION 23
223-226 (see text) "Wealth and beauty....etc"
On fashion and cosmetic surgery etc. - not wanting to let go is what causes the suffering.

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