Buddhist Audio Books

Mitra Study Year one
(Foundation Year)
By Year One compiled by Vadanya
ISBN: -
Read by Subhadra

Dharma Study Course for Mitras
Year One (Foundation Year).

The text of this Course is available at https://thebuddhistcentre.com/mitra/
and in book form from http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/thebuddhistcentre

There are four years in the Course, but only the first year has been made into an audiobook, so far.

Read by Subhadra

What is a Mitra?

The Sanskrit word ‘Mitra’ simply means ‘friend’. Becoming a Mitra is a
deepening of your friendship with the Triratna Buddhist Order, which
can occur when your commitment to its ideals, values and practices
has reached a certain level. Mitras are people who have made what
we call a ‘provisional’ commitment to practising the Dharma within our
spiritual community. This involves a commitment to Buddhism, to
practising the Buddhist path as taught within our tradition, and to the
Triratna Buddhist Community as the main context for your practice.
We call this level of commitment ‘provisional’ because it is ‘for the
foreseeable future’, rather than the more once-and-for-all dedication of
an Order Member. You are ready to become a Mitra when you decide
that, as far as you can see at the moment, you want to practise this
path, with this spiritual community. You are saying that from where you
are now this looks like the path for you, and you are willing to give it a
good wholehearted trial.
Becoming a Mitra is a significant event in our spiritual lives, so it is
marked by a significant public ceremony, which is a special event at
the Buddhist centre, and to which many people invite their friends and
family.

An Extract from: Mitra Study Year one
Extract from the Dharma Training Course for Mitras

Dharma Study as a Spiritual Practice
Introduction
The main aim of this course is to help people to improve their lives and mental states, rather than to give information about Buddhism for intellectual interest. But to practice the Dharma we need to know the Dharma, and Buddhist ideas have a transformative effect in their own right, by changing the way we see the world, and therefore the way we feel and act. So this course will have a large element of reading texts, reflecting on texts, and talking about texts. But it is important that we do not approach this with our usual attitudes to what we call ‘study’, which can bring in a sense of competitiveness or inferiority, or engage just our critical, rational intellect, rather than our whole being. The following text, based on a talk by Padmavajra, offers a more creative way of relating to what we sometimes call ‘study’ –seeing it as ‘talking the Dharma’, an essential and time-honoured spiritual practice that gives inspiration, develops wisdom, creates spiritual community, and gives us a context in which we can work on our habitual ways of being.

The following text, based on a talk by Padmavajra, offers a more creative way of relating to what we sometimes call ‘study’ –seeing it as ‘talking the Dharma’, an essential and time-honoured spiritual practice that gives inspiration, develops wisdom, creates spiritual community, and gives us a context in which we can work on our habitual ways of being.

Talking the Dharma

Based on the talk Talking the Dharma, by Padmavajra, with extra material.

For the early Buddhists ‘talking the Dharma’ –Dharma-kath? –was an important practice. Dharma-kath? means talking about the Dharma, conversing on the basis of the Dharma, relating through the Dharma. It means using the ideas, the ideals, the formulations, and the symbols of the Dharma as the medium for communication. In the Meghiya Sutta, the Buddha describes Dharma-kath? as one of the five things –along with meditation -that, ‘when the Heart’s Release is immature, conduce to its maturity.’ Talking the Dharma is as important as meditation. It is not an optional extra. At this point someone will usually object that experiencing the truth in Buddhism is supposed to be about getting beyond words and concepts. But ‘invoking the wordless’ prematurely will not liberate us on its own. Before we ‘invoke the wordless’ we need to free ourselves from the tangle of imprisoning concepts and world-views we have already taken on without knowing it. We gradually replace these unconscious views with ideas we have consciously chosen, which are liberating and help us live a spiritually vital life. Only when we have done this can we go beyond concepts altogether. If we ‘invoke the wordless’ too early, before we have gone through this process, we will simply remain imprisoned in the net of unconscious views we have picked up from our family, friends, education, society and so on. To quote The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana, ‘We use words to get free from words, until we reach the pure wordless Essence'.




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