From the garden at Eleusis -:- Photo by David Brazier
AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVID BRAZIERRoportajı yapan: Yılmaz Akgünlü Yılmaz Akgünlü
: As human beings we generally believe that we are intelligent creatures. But in this age, present ecological, social and psychological problems of the world don't imply us as if we are really intelligent. We can do things which destroy nature that we need and our well-being in general. So how is this possible? And what can we do to stop this and become really wise to cure ourselves and the world? What can Buddhism say about it?David Brazier
: We call Buddhism Dharma. The Dharma that I try to follow suggests that the first step in wisdom is to recognise our own foolishness. All religions, in fact, tell us to avoid hubris: to not think of ourselves as gods and masters. While we are trying to pose as better than we are, we make many foolish mistakes. So it would make a big difference if we were a little more humble, a little more modest in our ambition. Humans have tried to conquer nature, but we are part of nature. We are not so different from the aphids that live on a rose bush and multiple until there are so many that the rose bush dies. The aphids can then fly to another bush, but we do not have a second Planet Earth to go to. If we multiplied less, lived more simply, respected other species, did not waste so much, did not try to take so much for ourselves, then we could live in harmony with nature. But this is probably not going to happen, so it is likely that we will face an increasing number of disasters in the foreseeable future. So, short of finding the wisdom to solve the whole situation, we are going to need to find the wisdom to cope with increasing difficulties. Y.A.
: You said we dont have another planet to go to. But we may reborn in another planet or another realm when we die. People may easily believe in this and not worry much about the future of our planet. So can we say that this kind of beliefs make people less sensitive about the situation?D.B.
: Interesting question. But I think most people who believe they are going to be reborn think that it will likely be here on this planet so they are concerned about the future, whereas those who do not believe in rebirth may well think that the future is no real concern for them because they will be dead and gone by the time the situation gets really bad. However, changing tack a little, I think we are on the cusp of a shift in the spirit of the times. We have now lived with a paradigm of inevitable progress for a few centuries. We all grew up in a world in which people believed that their grandchildren will inevitably enjoy a better world, but now, I find, people are less confident. Modern Western culture was built on the idea of linear cultural, scientific and economic progress, whereas most ancient and most Eastern cultures were built either on ideas of gradual decline from a "Golden Age" in the past, or upon the idea of cycles in which things sometimes progress and sometimes regress. One can find both ideas in the background of the Buddha Dharma. I think the Dharma offers a kind of timeless wisdom that can see us through the good times and the bad ones with some equanimity and compassion. In my Zen Therapy book I suggest that this makes it a kind of therapy for the age we live in. Y.A.
: In your Zen Therapy book you say that when people are too anxious about smoking and afraid of dying this will not stop them smoking. On the contrary they smoke more because they will be more anxious. In similar way, doesn't being anxious about the future of the planet lead us to consume more and behave recklessly?D.B.
: That may be true. We need wisdom, compassion, faith and humility, rather than anxiety and fear. Y.A.
: You said we need wisdom, compassion, faith and humility instead of anxiety and fear. So this arouses two questions in my mind.The first question: why is there anxiety and fear in our mind and body? Why has nature created this feeling instead of only positive ones? Second question why is it difficult to achieve wisdom, compassion and all other values?D.B.
: Nature is wiser than we are. Those who did not have fear did not survive. Those who do not experience pain have exceedingly difficult lives. Because of pain you quickly take your hand out of the fire. Because of fear you do not put it into the fire again. Wisdom and compassion can grow quite naturally, but we compound our delusions by following misguided ideals. Wisdom is not a matter of getting rid of pain and fear, but of understanding and respecting them. We say we value awareness, but we do not appreciate how awareness grows out of wariness. If there were no danger, there would be no consciousness. The primitive instinct helps to keep us safe. We misguidedly think that to be an ideal person one must get rid of it, but really there is nothing to get rid of. In the Mahayana Dharma we say “the passions are the bodhi” - wisdom is when we turn around our attitude and realise that there is nothing to get rid of. Then we have the faith to live life naturally.Y.A.
: As I understand from your words a wise person doesnt see any difference between hell and heaven. But for ordinary persons like us it is difficult to maintain this vision all the time. We are easily distracted and begin to see things in a dualistic way. I think most of us see to be a wise person as something boring. By not doing anything wrong we feel life loses its excitement. Heaven is a boring place where people are sitting aimlessley listening tranquil music.D.B.
: I think that the wise person sees heaven as heaven and hell as hell and has a deep rooted acceptance and willingness. If it is heaven, it is heaven; if it is hell, it is hell; if it is exciting, enjoy but don’t get too carried away; if it is boring, relax and enjoy, for it will surely change before long. The awakened person has a higher loyalty to Dharma, so things come and go like scenery on a journey. When you walk in the mountains, sometimes it is uphill and sometimes down, sometimes there is a good view and sometimes all is lost in cloud. The awakened person discerns all this diversity and always has the faith to take the next step. In life there is a multiplicity of experiences, but a single thread of Dharma.Y.A.
: Thank you David for your words which inspire me. I feel that we have to work enthusiasticaly to internalize wisdom. Without work there is no gain. But where to start this journey? We as modern people feel lost most of the time. What can you recomend us to stop this feeling of being lost and turn the right way? This is my last question to this beautifull dialogue.D.B.
: Yes, it is true that the attitudes that nowadays tend to be considered most modern or progressive seem to have created a spiritual wasteland. The countries that are supposedly most advanced are often the ones with the highest suicide rates because, for many people, life has become meaningless. One needs to give one’s life to a higher purpose. Embrace the Dharma; find a teacher; cooperate in a sangha; work together with those who have the most noble aspiration, keep good company, simplify your life and, if possible, live close to nature. Remember some of the old fashioned virtues - gratitude, humility, loyalty, kindness, generosity. Pray, meditate, have simple rituals that remind one of the deeper meaning, respect what is holy and let it reflect in your life. Life is short and it is important that when the death time comes one can look back upon a life well lived, which means a life filled with faith and love
Kaynak: A Conversation with David Brazier
8-12th August 2022
POETIC WEEK IN FRANCE
At Eleusis, Central France - In person only
As last summer, a time for relaxed living in good company, sharing poems and other writings over brunch, Dharma discussions, going for walks, good conversation, community, communing with nature in the adjoining 35 acres of meadow and woodland where we hope, eventually, to establish the Oasis 2 Project. A chance to unwind in good company and tranquil surroundings well off the beaten track.
Full board: 30€ per day, lower rate if you stay longer.
13-14th August 2022
OBON: CELEBRATION OF FAMILY & ANCESTORS
At Eleusis, Central France - In person & Online
Chiamo gli antenati
Apro le danze!
- Obon haiku by Angela Romani
This year Global Sangha will celebrate Obon on the second weekend of August, which is also full moon, so this will incorporate the August Upavastha. Some of the event will be online. A more full and comprehensive event will take place at Eleusis, including a visit to the nearby community at Oasis. Nembutsu; chanting; readings; meditation; offerings to the ancestors and spirits; odori dancing and other celebratory activities. In person participants may stay longer if they wish to have some time for relaxation and to enjoy the area.
Full board: 30€ per day
Online: 25€ for the event
15-20th August 2022
BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY SUMMER SCHOOL
At Eleusis, Central France - In person only
Of particular interest to those already on or hoping in the future to join the Buddhist Psychology Diploma Programme, but open to all who are interested, the Summer School will include seminars, workshops, experiential groups, demonstrations and discussions. There is no better way to deepen one's understanding and learn and refine skills. The event will be at David Brazier's house in France. Accommodation is limited so this will be a first come, first served, booking. This course is almost full.
Full board: 30€ per day
Book now: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/globalsangha/677962/
Info: Jisshas <[email protected]
Please note that Eleusis France has limited accommodation space: Eight people maximum including host. There is, however, plenty of outdoor space if you prefer to camp. Life here is simple and rustic.Informal visits may also be possible at some other times than for the scheduled programmes.
23rd August to 2nd September
BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY SUPERVISION
Following on from the Summer School, this is a period for those who wish to stay on, in which to deepen understanding by further practice and supervision. Ticketing is not needed. Simply inform of your intention to stay longer when you receive confirmation of booking for the Summer School.
22-23rd October 2022
"ENCOUNTER & PATH"
BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY WEEKEND
Therapy as a Spiritual Path for Client & for Therapist. A presentation of the application of Buddhist psychology in a number of dimensions; a forum in which to reflect upon the spiritual path from a psychological point of view and the psychological work from a spiritual perspective.
talks, seminars, master class demonstration, groupwork, "Dharma à Deux", case
presentation and discussion. Theoretical material will be presented and there will also be experiential workshops so participants should be willing to
share material about personal life and agree to respect the
confidentiality of others.
Suitable for: The weekend is open to anybody interested both in understanding their own life and relationships better and in the therapeutic process and how this relates to the spiritual path in a Buddhist approach.
8-11th December 2022
"HEALING THE HEART"
SHAKYAMUNI ENLIGHTENMENT RETREAT
On 8th December we celebrate the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha. On the three days following we shall have periods of practice and presentations of applications of Dharma faith and practice. The theme of "Healing the Heart" invites us to consider both the transformation of the practitioner on the bodhisattva path and also the need for healing of our world and our planet.
21-22nd January 2023
BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY WEEKEND
Details to be announced. A good preparation for new students planning to join the Buddhist Psychology Diploma programme on 1st February and a valuable experience for students already on the programme. Also open to all.
BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY DIPLOMA
REGISTRATION FOR 2023
The next intake is for 1st February 2023. You can register now.
1st February 2023 to 30th April 2025
“DIPLOMA IN BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY”
A FOUR SEMESTER PROGRAMME
A unique and in many cases life changing opportunity to work with a highly talented team, to develop skills and knowledge and to contribute to the on-going development of applied Buddhist psychology.
Theme: Dharma as therapy and therapy as a spiritual path for client & for therapist. This unusual programme, that has been run in Korean, Spanish and English, based primarily upon the work of Dr. David Brazier, has been developing over three decades. The programme is continuously revised and updated in the light of changing circumstances (covid, etc.), student experience, and new research and studies. The programme presents Buddhist teachings as a psychological medium. This is not a course on using Buddhist methods in a framework of Western values, but rather an in-depth examination of Buddhist wisdom applied as psychology: the spiritual path from a psychological point of view and psychological work from a spiritual perspective.
Format: The programme consists of
study material: each semester includes twelve lessons grouped into four study units, presented on dedicated web pages with associated experiential exercises for students to perform and report back on
co-operative learning - students see and comment on each other's work.
seminars by zoom every two or three weeks led by staff with time for student inter-action.
individual tutorial sessions.
peer learning and practice groups and pairings.
three on-line weekend workshops per year with lectures, case presentation, experiential groupwork and topic discussions.
The study materials introduce the major Buddhist teachings common to most schools of Buddhism presented as psychology, showing their applications in personal practice, interpersonal work, psychotherapy and society. The material is quite extensive and requires a minimum of three hours per week.
Suitable for: This is a programme for therapists who want to deepen their understanding of the Buddhist perspective, for Buddhist practitioners wishing to learn a therapeutic and inter-personal way of applying the Buddhist teachings, and for all wishing to deepen their insight into their own lives and relationships with others.Staff
Dr David Brazier, psychotherapist and Buddhist teacher, author/editor of a 14 books including Zen Therapy and many other writings. Co-editor of the Oxford Manual of Meditation. English living in France.
Dr. Iris Dotan Katz, clinical psychologist with a private practice in Tel Aviv has many years of experience in Zen and Pureland Buddhism and in socially engaged action and peacemaking.Dr. Yaya de Andrade
, retired psychologist now with the Red Cross, with special interest working with indigenous, refugees, and other groups. She has worked extensively with populations recovering from major disasters around the world.
Kimiko Nita, clinical psychologist, specialises in work with children and young adults, has a private practice for adult clients in Tokyo, and a special interest in Naikan therapy. Dr. Priti Vaishnav
, from India, who has extensive experience in working in areas of social distress around the world, will participate and also offer administrative support
Fees: In line with Buddhist principles of dana all the staff give their time and expertise freely and voluntarily. Funds raised are used to support Buddhist inspired projects. The suggested contribution is £200 per semester. Other donations are gratefully accepted.