GLOBAL SANGHA NEWSLETTER 105
2nd March 2022

PODCAST GS61


PEACE GATHERING IN THE DESERT

Iris Dotan Katz: Willing to share with you my experience attending a Palestinian Israeli peace conference in the desert, south of Israel. We had 500 participants, half Israelis half Palestinians, being together three days. There were panels of interfaith representatives,  bringing their perspectives about peace, and interfaith activities, rituals, art and dance.  Following my invitation to talk about the way of peace, I tried to bring the Buddhist way of peace as an ongoing path. This path demands inner practicing and spiritual training of the consciousness, towards perceiving the other as he/she is, and developing compassion to the other as a reflection of ourselves. In a panel that I led we talked about the inevitable need of social action as a way of practicing inner peace and advancing outer peace, as peace is beginning with grassroots, like us in the conference. Among a variety of workshops, I facilitated one, based on our perspective of Buddhist psychology. The process was based on expressing and meeting the suffering of both sides: anger, fear, guilt, frustration. Then staying with those, without looking for solutions, and discovering what is deep there, finding out in a kind of an emptiness some compassion and love. So thank you, my dear friends for being a loving container which brings me up to spread the Buddhist way of love and reconciliation out of suffering in our wounded societies in the Middle East.


WAR IN UKRAINE

David Brazier: War is always a disaster, but wars are brought about by causes and conditions and generally such conditions have already been operating for an extended period of time. Wars generally follow long periods of growing tension during which the different parties were unwilling or unable to perceive the perspective or needs of the other side. As Buddhists, our first concern should be to investigate the causes and conditions. There are the conditions that have led to the war and there are the conditions that will come into being as a result of the war.

It is not difficult to see that Russia has invaded Ukraine in order to prevent it becoming part of an alliance hostile to Russia. Some will say that Russia should have invaded long ago or not allowed Ukraine to become independent in the first place. Others will say that Ukraine should have a right to become part of NATO if it wants to (though they would probably deny that right to Russia itself). Neither of these points of view is much help in the present situation. While Europe is divided into pro- and anti- Russian factions armed to the teeth, maintaining peace is always going to be a challenge. 

What I really want to map out here is the difference between a Hinayana (moralist) point of view and a Mahayana (skilful means) perspective.

A general view that Russia is the bad country and Mr Putin is a bad man while America is the good country and Mr Biden (and his predecessors) is the good man has been built up by the Western media for several decades. A mirror image on the other side. This can never be a recipe for peace, security and stability. I dare say that if Mr Putin and Mr Biden were to swop jobs, the situation would be exactly the same as it is now. Simply dealing in caricatures and holding to black-white, good-bad judgements is worse then useless, it is dangerous and fuels the fire.

America has invaded and interfered in just as many countries as Russia - probably more - so there really is very little moral high ground left.  But the point we need to grasp is that Mahayana Buddhism is concerned with skilful means (upaya) rather than the striking of moral poses. Skilful means often involves compromise and while one holds onto moral principles in an absolutist fashion, compromise is impossible. Cheering on the Ukrainians or the Russians only makes compromise more difficult and the war more likely to intensify. There will be much destruction and those who believe the other side to be all bad will then feel vindicated, but will probably not see how their own black and white views have contributed to the slaughter.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but in international affairs it is rarely helpful to cling tenaciously to what seem like moral principles. One needs to look into the conditions that are operating and find a way toward some course of action that allows safety and dignity to all parties. This is true at all levels of social affairs. For many years I was a social worker working for a government agency. During my time there, there were a number of conflmicts between workers and employers. Often it was about money. The employers made an offer, the union asked for more, the workers went on strike, there were more discussions and pretty soon a compromise was reached. Then, one day, the social workers went on strike over something that they regarded as a point of principle. The strike went on for months and was a disaster for everybody concerned. Why? Because when you strike a moral pose, you cannot compromise.

This is the major differences between the Mahayana and Hinayana approaches to the spiritual path. In Hinayana the practitioner is primarily concerned with own moral purity and this is his nirvana. In Mahayana the aim is skilful means within the conditions of samsara. The bodhisattva is not trying to be right, he is trying to be helpful by understanding all sides and avoiding self-righteousness. 

Of course, it is very difficult to unravel a situation when it has got to the stage of warfare. Immediately before the war there was a period of negotiations in which the NATO side made no effort to appreciate the sense of danger that Russia felt. Indeed, it seemed determined to put Russia into an even weaker position. Before those negotiations there had been a period of several decades of Western encroachment into lands that Russia could formerly rely upon. This war is not something that sprung up out of nowhere yesterday. There has been a long period of slowly escalating pressure. If you keep stretching the elastic band, eventually it snaps.

These are the conditions before. What about the sequel? The future is always hard to predict, but one likely outcome is that Western Europe will rearm and will develop its own armaments industry. This will put the Franco-German alliance in an even more dominant position within the EU; It will also, in the medium term, reduce EU dependence upon the USA. Eventually this process will probably reach a tipping point and NATO will break up. There will then be a realignment in the world the detail of which is not predictable at this distance. Whether this will be a good thing or a bad thing is not the point. The aim of Buddhism is compassion based on wisdom, not self-righteousness, and wisdom begins with an assessment of the conditions as they emerge and evolve.

If Russia fails in its objectives in Ukraine and NATO stations nuclear weapons on the Russian border there, then Russia as we know it today will probably collapse since it will be unable to defend itself. Perhaps that is what some people want. Americanisation of the world will intensify and divisions within American society will also grow as it bites off more than it can chew. On the other hand, if Russia succeeds in its objectives then hostility between East and West will likely generate a new cold war that will have bad effects for everybody for a generation. Neither of these outcomes is desirable. Peace requires compromise, but right now I am not very hopeful.

============================================================

THIS SATURDAY

Refuge Group Meeting at 14:00


SUNDAY MEETINGS EVERY WEEKEND

Both meetings are informal meetings for friendly discussion among Dharma practitioners on topical or personal matters.

Sunday 10:30 Interest Group
An informal meeting for all.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88974912642?pwd=N2VyQnc0MUM4WUU0YTFTdCt0QWVmQT09
Meeting ID: 889 7491 2642  -:-  Passcode: 537296

Sunday 20:00,  GS Friendship Group
An informal meeting for all
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87394084532?pwd=eEY3eUhHcjN0b0xLanZXcTNqVmVzdz09
Meeting ID: 873 9408 4532  -:-  Passcode: 519784

WEEKEND 12-13 MARCH

Saturday: "Buddhist Psychology, Listening & Facilitating"
seminars for students on the Buddhist Psychology programme
at 10:00 & 20:00 (Rome) 
Sunday: Golden Chain Meeting at 12:30
Codes separately notified

WEEKEND 19-20 MARCH

Saturday: Dharma Ocean (History) Lecture at 12:00, followed by Upavastha from 14:30

Picture
 Photo by David Brazier


ROBERT ALTHOUSE ART PROMOTION

WIN FREE ART TO CELEBRATE MY NEW SITE!

    
Great news: I have a new art gallery site! To celebrate, I'm giving away a 20x20" metal print called "Organized Illumination" in my Fractal series, worth $400! To enter, fill in your email address below. Giveaway ends on Thursday March 10, 2022. I will announce the winner on that day.

I also have a special prize for EVERYONE who enters,
EVEN IF YOU DON'T WIN:  
As soon as the giveaway ends,
I will give you a one-time discount to buy anything on my site at 20% OFF!


Go to: https://www.althouseart.com/new-website-giveaway?mc_cid=a77c9a6dcf&mc_eid=a2fb140e13

You can see more of Robert's art at https://www.althouseart.com

a77ca62b-3314-11eb-a3d0-06b4694bee2a%2F1645707589191-2017-10-31+17.43.43.jpg
Photo by David Brazier

WHO WAS
DAOSHENG?

Zhu Daosheng (c.360-434) was an eminent Chinese scholar who promoted the teaching of sudden enlightenment as a possibility for all people. He wrote an influential commentary upon the Lotus Sutra and some would consider him the true originator of the ideas that in due course formed the Zen School. 

He took the first steps toward becoming a monk aged eleven. His first teacher was called Zhu Fatai. Later he went to study at Lu Shan with Hui Yuan and was one of the disciples of Hui Yuan who then went to study with Kumarajiva for a couple of years, He helped to translate the Lotus Sutra which made a great impression on him. 

Daosheng was involved in a big controversy. On the basis of texts available in China it was believed that only some people could become enlightened, that there were some - called ichantika - who could not become enlightened because of their bad karma. Daosheng believed that everybody could become enlightened. For this belief he was expelled from the sangha in 428. He retreated to Lu Shan. However, in 430 a new text was translated which supported Daosheng view and he was regarded as vindicated. Everybody praised his great insight.

He then remained on Lu Shan until his death, composing his commentaries on the Lotus and Nirvana Sutras.

We are learning about this period of the transmission of the Dharma in China in the Dharma Ocean course.  There are also references to Daosheng in 
Brazier D. 2019 The Dark Side of the Mirror: Forgetting the self in Dogen's Genjo Koan, published by Windhorse, Cambridge, UK.
 

DHARMA OCEAN COURSE
A small group are studying the history of the tradition. Last autumn we  studied the transmission in India in the early centuries following the life of the Buddha. In the semester that is just starting there are study units covering the transmission of the  teaching  in China from the beginning of the common era up to the medieval period (13th century). This is a good course for gaining a deeper understanding of the way that the Dharma has spread and adapted to changing historical and social conditions. You can
 still join this course: Tickets <https://www.tickettailor.com/events/globalsangha>


==========================================================

a77ca62b-3314-11eb-a3d0-06b4694bee2a%2F1646060378312-20220226_080319.jpg






Photo by Yaya de Andrade

==========================================================


DIARY  
All times are Rome time zone


Tuesday 17:00-18:00, 8th March & every two weeks
Italian Class
- Angela Romani
https://bit.ly/3yxLd3Z  -:-  Meeting ID: 889 9850 0278  -:-  Passcode: 515887

Tuesday 18:00-19:00, 15th March & every two weeks
Italian Meeting - Incontro Italiano
- Angela Romani
Incontro di pratica e condivisione
Dettagli da Jisshas <[email protected]>

Wednesday  21:00, 2nd March & every two weeks
Dharma Bud: Peer learning and Dharma discussion
- Geeta Chari
https://bit.ly/3i5PhTS  -:-  Meeting ID: 858 9773 3604  -:-  Passcode: 108108 

Thursdays 16:30,
Readings from the Commentary on the Summary of Faith & Practice
- Dharmavidya & Priti Vaishnav
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86563620686?pwd=OUh4L25zbHl6SEpFWW9LT3o5YnVVZz09
Meeting ID: 865 6362 0686  -:-  Passcode: 274590

Thursday  14:30, 10th March & every two weeks
IBAP Group / BP Diploma Tutors Meeting
Codes separately notified

Thursday  19:00-20:30, 3rd March & every two weeks
ITZI Supervision Group
- Iris Dotan Katz
For presentation, review and discussion of counselling/psychotherapy casework from a Buddhist psychology perspective.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81888100021?pwd=b1JNbUhuekNRMWZoMEdUdEUyRFppdz09
Meeting ID: 818 8810 0021  -:-  Passcode: 153110

Fridays  19:30
Amitabha Service For the West 
- Vajrapala & Angela Romani
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89480699209?pwd=enBHS3RYWVZxN1FyUGthZ1o0cVdFZz09
Meeting ID: 894 8069 9209   -:-   Passcode: 137836

Saturday 14:00, 5th & 26th February
Refuge Group
A group for those who have taken refuge. To join, please enquire via jisshas.
Codes separately notified.

Saturday 19th March 
Uposattha Sangha Day
Including
12:00 Dharma Ocean Seminar.
14:30-20:00 Upavastha: readings, sharing, puja, meditation & chanting. Review of the month past and renewal of practice resolution for the month ahead.
Tickets <https://www.tickettailor.com/events/globalsangha>
Free to students on BP & DO courses.

Saturday 10:00 & 20:00, 12th March
Buddhist Psychology Seminar "Buddhist Psychology, Listening & Facilitating"
For students on BP course: codes separately notified

Sundays 10:30,
Global Sangha Interest Group
- Liz Allmark
An informal meeting for all.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88974912642?pwd=N2VyQnc0MUM4WUU0YTFTdCt0QWVmQT09
Meeting ID: 889 7491 2642  -:-  Passcode: 537296

Sunday 12:30, 13th March
Golden Chain Meeting
Codes separately notified 

Sundays 20:00
GS Friendship Group
An informal meeting for all
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87394084532?pwd=eEY3eUhHcjN0b0xLanZXcTNqVmVzdz09
Meeting ID: 873 9408 4532  -:-  Passcode: 519784


===========================================================
GENERAL

Jisshas <[email protected]> - for all general enquiries
Tickets <https://www.tickettailor.com/events/globalsangha> - to book courses


DONATE

If you would like to support my work of facilitating the sangha and especially of assisting people to come to Eleusis in France for teachings,  the simplest way is to make a donation via Ko-Fi https://ko-fi.com/feelingbuddha
You will also find a wealth of interesting articles there curated by Geeta Chari.


USEFUL LINKS

Global Sangha Web Site: https://www.globalsangha.net/
Recent Audio Podcasts: https://eleusis.ning.com/notes/LATEST_PODCAST_AUDIO 
Dharma Ocean Buddhist Studies Programme <[email protected]>,
The Feeling Buddha on KoFi: https://ko-fi.com/feelingbuddha
Tickets for Events: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/globalsangha

IBAP & Buddhist Psychology Programme
(English) Dharmavidya <dharmavidya&fastmail.fm>,
(Español) Nati Menendez <[email protected]>,
ITZI: https://zen-therapy.org/

GS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/710544479619937
GS at Eleusis: https://eleusis.ning.com/group/global-sangha
Dharmavidya: [email protected]
Dharmavidya on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/davidbrazierauthor/
Dharmavidya website: http://eleusis.ning.com
Zen & Now - the musical https://www.zenow.net/Donations: https://ko-fi.com/feelingbuddha


GLOBAL SANGHA CONTACT PEOPLE BY REGION

Worldwide: Jisshas <[email protected]>,  
United Kingdom: Geeta Chari <[email protected]>,
France: Dharmavidya <[email protected]>,
Spain Pais Vasco: Ganendra <[email protected]>,
Spain Pais Vasco: Sonia Gobbato <[email protected]>
Spain: Nati Menendez <[email protected]>,
Italy: Angela Romani <[email protected]>
Latin America: Maya Choi <[email protected]>,
USA: Carol Corey <[email protected]>
Africa: Juline Smit <[email protected]>,
Israel: Iris Dotan Katz <[email protected]>,
India: Priti Vaishnav <[email protected]>,
Hong Kong: Nando Maril <[email protected]>,
Japan: Nita Kimiko <[email protected]>,


You can see other Global Sangha materials, past podcasts and articles via : https://eleusis.ning.com/notes/GLOBAL_SANGHA_INDEX

You received this mail as you were previously in receipt of Global Sangha Newsletters or David's podcasts  or you bought a ticket for a GS event  or you are subscribed to the Eleusis website.  If you do not wish to receive these newsletters in the future please unsubscribe from the Octopus list (below).  Thank you.

Thank you very much
Namo Amida Bu
Global Sangha at Eleusis
You received this email because you subscribed to our list. You can unsubscribe at any time.

4 La Ville au Roi
Bessais le Fromental
Cher
18210
France
Powered by EmailOctopus