Cherish the Doctrine
Continuity And Creativity In A United Order
This paper follows through the implications of some of Sangharakshita's comments in the interview with him, published as 'What is the Western Buddhist Order?' It explores the importance of ensuring a high degree of commonality in the practices and teachings of the Triratna Buddhist Order. They elucidate the principles on which this unity must be based, and the strategies by which it may be achieved and maintained.
This article, in Sangharakshita's phrase, 'rounds off the cycle of teachings' that began with Revering and Relying upon the Dharma proceeding then to Re-imagining the Buddha and Initiation into a New Life (See below). Like them, this paper emerges out of my conversations with him, exploring especially his understanding of the five niyāmas and is published with Sangharakshita's approval.
This present paper explores the Dharma niyāma at work in Sangharakshita's own life and experience and thereby shaping the institutions of the Triratna Buddhist Order and Community.
The world today is very different from that in which Buddhism originated and flourished over the millenia. Buddhists now practise and teach the Dharma in an age of urbanisation, globalisation, mass communication, and rapid technological change. The challenge we face today is to find ways of communicating and practising the Dharma that are truly effective in these new circumstances. What is needed, in effect, is a renewal of Buddhism. The Triratna Buddhist Community was founded by Urgyen Sangharakshita, in London in 1967, as a response to this challenge. This booklet is an outline of the main principles upon which that new Buddhist movement was initiated and which have continued to animate it ever since. These constitute principles of renewal that may be of wider interest to all our Buddhist sisters and brothers everywhere who are working to bring the Dharma into the heart of the modern world.
Based on talks given in October 2010 at Padmaloka Retreat Centre in England.
The Dharma could be a major force for positive social transformation throughout the world and the Triratna Buddhist Community could to help bring about that Dharma Revolution by developing the nucleus of a new society.
The Ordination ceremony in Sangharakshita's System of Spiritual Practice
Over the summer months of 2011, Subhuti and Sangharakshita engaged in a series of discussion focusing on the spiritual rite of Ordination in the Buddhist tradition.
"The individual undergoing ordination is usually profoundly affected by the symbolic resonance of all that happens and will sense the tying together of many threads of meaning and purpose. They will usually feel that their whole experience within the Triratna Community has been a training for this moment: and one who has been ordained will spend the rest of their life as Sangharakshita's disciple, working out the full implications of what was germinal in that ceremony..."
download in pdf format (Revised with Bhante's approval: 27/1/12)
Towards the end of August, 2010, Subhuti and Sangharakshita had a series of discussions centred on the topic of the imagination.
"Where reason has flown as high as it may, it is the illumined imagination that must take over and continue..."
In his preface to the paper Sangharakshita wrote:
I am extremely grateful to Subhuti for not just writing up our discussions but for presenting them in a more organised and systematic manner. The title he has given to this article, ‘Re-imagining the Buddha’, very well encapsulates the overall thrust of our discussion.
Re-imagining the Buddha (PDF format)
In and around producing this seminal paper, Subhuti also gave a series of talks on the same theme:
Talks on Imagination on Free Buddhist Audio
The essay on the imagination follows on from previous conversations between Urgyen Sangharakshita and Subhuti, also recorded in Subhuti's article Revering and Relying upon the Dharma
Refering to this Subhuti has said:
"I set out Sangharakshita's thoughts on the nature of Right View. I tried to show how pratītya-samutpāda is not a theory about reality but a description of the conditioned relationships that we can observe underlying everything..."
Revering and Relying upon the Dharma (PDF format)
As part of his work as International Chapter convenor Subhuti led workshops on meeting with other Buddhists as a spiritual practice. These explorations are synthesised in his classic essay: Remorse and Confession in the Spiritual Community