The Course An Introduction to Meditation and Buddhism started on October 5th and will be running until November 2nd. We are delighted to welcome so many newcomers with an interest in Buddhism.
Meanwhile, the evenings for regulars continue upstairs, and we are following a series on the Five Spiritual Faculties. Sangharakshita our teacher called his talk on these The Pattern of Buddhist Life and Work, and he stressed that they are about how we live a Buddhist life.
‘The overall purpose of these faculties is the living of a Buddhist life. Buddhism is concerned with life . One might almost say that Buddhism is life itself - life in the sense of growth, of realising the potential of one’s life.
A Buddhist is first and last someone who is alive, awake to life’.
We reflected first on sraddha (confidence or trust), sharing our sense of inspiration, what moved us, what we had set our heart upon, and how that sense of meaning nd purpose had changed our lives. Sraddha is sometimes translated as ‘faith’ but it is not a blind faith. The Buddha continually stressed the importance of testing any teaching in one’s own experience, and not being caught in any ‘view’.
Last week, we reflected on virya - energy, effort or exertion, and thought about what blocks our energy and what releases energy. It was a common experience that thinking about what we had yet to do, or worrying about an outcome, would make any task more tiring, and that being fully present to the task in hand, and aware of the process of doing would release more energy. Being in touch with sraddha, our inspiration, our sense of joy in life, would also help us to feel the energy flowing. Feeling a sense of interconnection helped - we can feel the difference between closing in around ‘me’ and ‘mine’, and opening out to a sense of shared work, shared world, shared humanity. There were also other ideas such as doing physical activity, or making a physical act of devotion , that could help us to contact more energy.