Early Buddhism for Today – Recordings

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A chance to purchase the video recordings of Bodhi College Day of Celebration and Discovery held on 1st December 2019, London. 

New thinking on mindfulness and a path of awakening in this life.

With the Bodhi teachers: Stephen Batchelor, Chris Cullen, Christina Feldman, Christoph Köck, John Peacock, Akincano Weber

 

Our Programme

9:00     Optional Morning Sit

9:30     Morning Coffee and Tea – an informal meet and greet

A selection of coffee and teas, plus fresh fruit and pastries. Meet former retreat mates and attendees from across the globe, including the Bodhi College teachers.

10:15    Welcoming Remarks

10:30    Liberating the practice of Studying – and liberating the student as well.  

Panel discussion - Bodhi teachers 

Chaired by Madeleine Bunting

What Does Study Mean? 

The word study is often evocative of heads buried in books, shackled to the desk, assimilating conceptual knowledge. Join the faculty of Bodhi College as we redefine our understanding of ‘study’ as experiential knowing - an indispensable facet of the awakening process and the forerunner to transforming insight. 

In this dialogue we will discover the place of deep learning in reframing how life is experienced, the ending of distress, and our flourishing as human beings. 

11:30     Rebirth: A dialogue with Stephen Batchelor and Akincano Weber 

Chaired by Madeleine Bunting

Is the concept of rebirth vestigial or essential?

Is the Buddhist doctrine of rebirth just a vestige of Indian cosmology? Or is it a potent metaphor for understanding the human condition? In an attempt to unravel the confusions around the idea of rebirth, Akincano and Stephen will argue for and against what different traditions actually say about this topic rather than begin and end with their caricatures. 

A lively exchange that hopes to dispel some common misunderstandings and suggest what the concept of rebirth could mean for contemporary practitioners in a secular age.

12:30     Lunch

Guess what? Lunch will not be in silence… and no oatmeal! Instead, choose from among a variety of hearty and fresh vegetarian salad offerings, teas and juices, plus delicious desert selections.

1:30     Concurrent small group break-out sessions:

1) Universal Empathy

Christina Feldman and Chris Cullen

From its roots in India, in its evolution into Asia and then to the west, Buddhist practice lost the original qualities of universal kindness and compassion, joyfulness, and equanimity, which are often treated only as optional extras. But in the early Buddhist texts they are presented as the complete path of awakening.  

In the development of mindfulness in secular settings today, there is a recognition of the significance of these qualities; yet uncertainty about how to incorporate them fully in the teaching of mindfulness. 

In this session we will reflect on the growing recognition of the centrality of these qualities: how they can be cultivated and incorporated, not as separate pathways, but as the foundation upon which all pathways of awakening are developed.

2) Buddhism and the secular mindfulness world – learning from each other? 

Akincano Weber and Christoph Köck

One of the keys to secular mindfulness’s mainstream success has been that it’s often not taught or practiced as an element of Buddhism.  

Buddhist practitioners wonder: Does it go deep enough? Is it still right mindfulness when extracted from its Buddhist roots? Where are the ethics, the Brahmaviharas, the calm and the insight? 

Secular teachers wonder: Are mindfulness teachers smuggling stealth Buddhism into our health-care and educational systems? Is Buddhist religious ideology creeping back into our psychological departments, our schools and clinics? The legitimacy of mindfulness lies with science – why should it seek endorsement in pre-modern religions and traditions?

Two mindfulness teachers and Buddhist practitioners, both psycho­therapists, ex-monastics and deeply involved in secular mindfulness trainings, reflect on what secular mindfulness could learn from its Buddhist roots – and what Buddhists might learn from the secular mindfulness world.

3) Early Buddhism and Greek Philosophy

Stephen Batchelor and John Peacock

A discussion of some of the striking parallels between early Buddhism and the ancient Hellenistic philosophies of Skepticism, Epicureanism and Stoicism. 

Greek Skeptics such as Pyrrho prescribed the letting go of opinions in order to achieve ataraxia – untroubledness of mind. 

The Epicureans sought ataraxia through spiritual friendship and a simple life.

While the Stoics advocated the training of attention and the cultivation of emotional resiliency similar to the Buddhist concept of equanimity.

Are these similarities and others like them just accidental, or do they reveal a common ground of thought and practice at the roots of both Greek philosophy and Buddhist traditions? 

3:00     Social hour and refreshments

Book signing by Christina Feldman. “Mindfulness: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Psychology”

Your opportunity to receive a personally signed copy (at 20% off) of the new book Mindfulness: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Psychology, co-authored by Christina and Willem Kuyken. Discover new thinking on mindfulness, a new exploration of our awareness and expression of integrity, and its profound effect on ourselves and others. The perfect take-away from today’s event.

Sitar playing by Bodhi teacher John Peacock 

4:00     Farewell Address

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