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

DISCLAIMER - This transcript has not been checked by Sangharakshita, and may contain mistakes and mishearings. Checked and reprinted copies of all seminars will be available as part of the Complete Works Project.

by Sangharakshita


(N.B. it is necessary to have a copy of the text when studying this seminar)
Page No.
1-4Preliminaries berore study
4Meaning of 'Lokagesta'(?) 'Elder Brother of the World' as title of the Buddha.
5-7Exposition of :'to abandon desire: and 'to rest in quietude', and why this is 'the
greatest of victories'
8Distinction between 'kamachanda' (?) and 'ahammachanda'
i.e.'sensuous desire' and 'desire for the Dharma'
9-10istinction between 'desire' and 'craving'
Enjoyment without attachment.
II-12The four kinds of 'mara'
13Meaning ofl 'quietude'
13-15Place of compassion in the teaching of 'the Way'
The teaching as response to 'voicing of individuals' doubts. Meeting specific
spiritual needs.
18-19On use of word 'commanded' - its authoritarian connotations.
20The precepts as a conscious discipline initially, and as a spontaneous
expression of one's being ultimately.
21Meaning of 'enlightened' and 'Enlightenment'
22-23Significance of the 'anjali' gesture.
24-39SECTION 2 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."
31-32sramana', 'bra~na', 'bni~ku' syhonymous in 'i)hammapada'
The 20 precepts - How these appiy
33Danger of 'Legalism re practising the precepts.
33The 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'.
38-39Clearing up misunderstanding of 'negative'tone of tex~.
SECTION 3 - The 'sramana' - Putting an end to desire and longings:
41The 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.
44Transcenaing 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-52Significance of the story of the Buddha's renunciation.
53-56Various implications in past ages -dress, titles, roles
57Begging - its questionable relevance to today.
58-59Contentment and simplicity.
60Problem of the elderly - effects of 'consumerism'
61-63Food and neurotic craving
64Working for rewards and working for the fun of it.
65"Weekend off" syndrome.
66Epos~of false view:- 'If it doesn't hurt it can't be spiritual growth'.
67Reward and praise - sensible use re children
68Harmful attitudes of some Christian theologians -
69fear of punishment.
70-72On alienation from one's feelings - need to contact internal source of
72-78SECTION 5 - The Ten Good Acts - The Ten Evil Acts.
72-73The 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.
79-85 .
SECTION 6 - Having faults and not regretting them.
Distinction between healthy regret and neurotic guilt
81Seeing consequences of 'having Faults'
Negative feedback not helpful in breaking bad habits.
82Working on faults - Analogy with weeding.
83-85Importance of awareness and spiritual friends in overcoming faults.
86-92SECTION 7 - "....if an evil man on hearing etc...."~see text
'creating a disturbance' - how this applies to
88FWBO classes etc. 'Weak' and 'strong' situations.
89Ways of handling the situation.
90Implications of "the good attracting disruptive/evil elements. e.g. People
around the Dalai Lama.
91-92Reminiscences re Dalai lama and Dhardho Rinpoche.
93-95SECTION 8 - Story of the Buddha 'returning the gift' of another man's abuse.
- nature of reactivity -
importance of listening - principle of 'non-rotaliation'
94Value of 'metta' - value of the spiritual community.
95Importance of physical surroundings i.e. Centres.
96-98SECTION 9 - The psychophysical organism as a lethal weapon.
Sobering reflections on this.
98-100SECTION 10 - "Listen avidly and cherish 'the Way'
Importance of receptivity and wanting to hear
99Important to appreciate value of meditation, study and puja.
100Important to appreciate other people and not treat them in an off-hand way.
101-103SECTION 11 - "The Way' is hard to reach" - Being in real contact not just
having ideas about 'the Way'
102Need 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.
103Contrast 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
111-112Religion 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)
118The primary function of the Dharma is to help individuals to develop as true
119Difficult to convince people of the value of developing individuality. -
Interaction of 'positive group' and spiritual community' -
122-I23Traumas are not necessary prerequisites for entering the spiritual life i.e.
I24-125avoiding extreme attitudes re the 'positive group' and the 'spiritual community
- Definition of extremes
125-182SECTION 13 - The 20 'hard things' for human beings - see Text) -
Comments on each statement.
183-185SECTION 14 - "Preserving the will" -'eliminating desires' and 'seeking nothing
184Aphorism - "You can only change what you take responsibility for" - "Deal
with the present and you deal with the past."
184-185SECTION 15 - Distinction between 'greatness' and 'goodness ' - Importance of
gaining stream-entry'
I85-188SECTION 16 - "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'
189-194SECTION 17 - "cherishing desires" - implications of this
190Get in the way of perceiving the Dharma.
190-191Sexual and erotic desires - erroneous view that one should have sexual and
erotic desires which leads one to concoct and cultivate them.'
I94SECTION 18 - Characteristics of Insight -
194-198SECTION 19 - (See text) "Thinking what is beyond thought"
196Important to use thinking, performing etc. imaginatively.
I98Application to human communication and relationships
198On 'being wrong by so much as a thousandth part of a hair' - (see text) - re
telling lies etc.
198-199SECTION 20 - On Impermanence
I99-202SECTION 21 - The 'no-self' teaching - how to put this across appropriately.
200-201Importance of the personality
203-223SECTION 22 - Desire for 'name and fame' - immortality of the body - re 'pop
groups',film stars etc.
223-226SECTION 23 - (see text) "Wealth and beauty....etc"
On fashion and cosmetic surgery eto. - not wanting to let go is what causes the
226-236SECTION 24 - Being trapped by worldly life - worldly life one long escapism
227Attachments and dependencies in the spectrum of human relationships.
228Distinction between attitudes of 'won't' and 'can't'
Attitudes behind our excuses
229How we doubly bind ourselves in restricting situations
230Recidivism - attachment to 'maximum security' of prison.
231SECTION 25 - "Of all longings and desires there is none stronger than sex'. -
(i.e. worldly desires)
Male/female polarity as the paradigm of subject/object duality.
232 Alienation - sense of deficiency at core or our being
233Two kinds of attraction - attraction to opposing opposites and attraction to
complementary opposites -reactive 'and' creative' modes.
234Overcoming duality in 'universal oneness' - see text) is not merging in a
metaphysical, monistic, ...

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