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Inspiratie: traditie & vernieuwing

Een voordeel van ons internettijdperk is een ongeziene beschikbaarheid van informatie. Een nadeel is de overload van informatie met niet altijd hetzelfde inhoudelijke niveau. Deze pagina heeft daarom tot doel om je te laten ‘proeven’ van de rijkdom en de diepgang van het boeddhisme via citaten van Bhante Sangharakshita (1925-2018). Hij is de oprichter van de Triratna Boeddhistische Gemeenschap.

Neem de tijd om te reflecteren hoe onderstaande citaten jou kunnen helpen in jouw groeiproces. Het is aan te raden om hier mee aan de slag te gaan in de context van een gemeenschap. Door de aanwezigheid van ervaren leraren op onze activiteiten leren we het boeddhisme op de juiste manier begrijpen, waarderen en toepassen in ons eigen leven.

Mettā: groeien in liefdevolle vriendelijkheid

“The unfailing sign of mettā is that you are deeply concerned for the well-being, happiness, and prosperity of the object of your mettã, be that a person, an animal, or any other being. When you feel mettā for someone, you want them to be not just happy, but deeply happy; you have an ardent desire for their true welfare, an undying enthusiasm for their growth and progress.”

Sangharakshita, Living with Kindness


Vervreemd en geïntegreerd gewaarzijn

How does alienated awarenes arise? How do we come not to experience ourselves? …First of all, there is non-experience of the body. … This refusal is often connected with wrong early training. People are brought up with the idea, or the vague feeling, that the body is shameful, or at least not so noble or respectable as the mind. … Non-experience of feelings and emotions comes about in various ways. … For instance, we are taught that anger is wrong, so we feel guilty if we become angry for any reason, and sometimes when we are angry we try to pretend we are not. We repress the feeling, we refuse to experience it, and it goes underground. …

So most of us are in a state of alienation from ourselves: from our bodies, from our feelings, from our emotions, and from our thoughts. We don’t experience ourselves. … Our self is relatively extensive, like the iceberg underneath the water, but that part of our self that we allow ourselves to experience is relatively small. …

If alienated awareness has developed to any degree, we have to go back to square one and allow ourselves to experience ourselves. … This will not be easy, especially for those who are comparatively advanced in life, because some feelings are deeply burried and very difficult to recover. … We may have to act out our feelings, not only experience them but express them, even the negative ones. This does not mean that we should indulge them [not to take it out onto others], but slowly and with awareness we should start letting them out and allowing ourselves to experience them while remaining conscious of them.

If we do this, we shall begin to experience the whole of ourselves – the so-called good and the so-called bad, the so-called high and the so-called low. … This whole subject is of great practical importance. Awareness is the growning point of the higher evolution of the individual, but it is only the right kind of awareness, only intergated awareness, that constitutes this growing point.

Sangharakshita, From Alienated Awareness to Integrated Awareness


De kracht van eerlijke communicatie

“If you habitually mask your true feelings out of fear of confronting people with the truth of yourself as you really are, you are hardly likely to be able to confront that truth yourself. You need to be able to see the real danger in being woolly and vague, to see that avoiding the truth of the immediate situation fatally undermines your practice of the Dharma. … Freedom from fear and anxiety is a natural consequence of this willingness to be honest.”

Sangharakshita, Living with Kindness


Vrijheid en de emancipatie van het individu

“What is it that as individuals we need more than anything else in life? …
We need freedom. … The real meaning of human life is to be found in growth, in development. Development that is to say of self-awareness, of emotional positivity, of responsibility for oneself and for others, and also development of creativity. … We need freedom from all that restricts and confines us – not only outside us but also even inside us. We need freedom from our own conditioning, need even freedom from our own old self. …

So here we encounter a gigantic contradiction; we encounter a gigantic paradox. Religion which is supposed to help us to become spiritually free in fact only too often helps to keep us enslaved. In fact only too often religion adds to our existing state of slavery. … Now, what went wrong? … It’s because it has been forgotten that religion is a means to an end – that end being the development of the individual. Religion has become an end in itself. The forms which religion takes have become ends in themselves; doctrines have become ends in themselves; institutions have become ends in themselves and rules have become ends in themselves. …

The individual needs to become free; the individual needs something that will help him grow, help him become free. So, alright let us agree to call that thing ‘religion’ but how are we to make sure that religion does not become the means or a means of enslaving the individual, or stultifying the individual, even of crushing the individual? We need something that will constantly remind us of the limitations of religion, we need something that will constantly remind us that religion is only a means to an end.”

Sangharakshita, The Transcendental Critique of Religion


Onbevreesdheid in de boeddhistische traditie

“We find that in Buddhism, generally, great importance is attached to the state of fearlessness. This is not a Buddhist virtue we hear very much about, but it figures very prominently in the scriptures, and we find that the Buddha himself, when he is depicted, in three-dimensional form, as an image, is often shown in what is called the ‘abhaya mudra’, the mudra, or the finger gesture of fearlessness. … Not only the Buddha, but Bodhisattvas too are regarded as embodiments of fearlessness. This is greatly insisted on in the case of the Bodhisattvas that they have great confidence, great courage, great enterprise, great spirit of adventure, that they are not afraid, that they are firm of heart and so on.

In fact, one can say that in Buddhism, generally, in the Hinayana, in the Mahayana, in the Vajrayana, in all forms of Buddhism, in all spiritual traditions within Buddhism, great importance is attached to what we may describe as the heroic virtues, that is to say courage, self-confidence, self-reliance, energy, initiative – and we don’t always realise this, certainly not here in the West. We tend to think of the spiritual life primarily in terms of the more passive, so-called, feminine virtues. We think of the spiritual life in terms of developing love, compassion, patience, sympathy, tolerance, gentleness, – we think of it more in these terms. But, according to Buddhist tradition, the heroic virtues are no less important, even, perhaps, in some ways, more important.“

Sangahrakshita The Symbolism of the Cremation Ground and the Celestial Maidens; Zie ook The Heroic Ideal in Buddhism

Mindfulness is revolutionair

“Suppose I have something of a problem with my temper: I get irritated, even angry, rather easily. I set up a goal for myself – the goal of being good-tempered. … I set up a goal for myself – the goal of being good-tempered. … What acutally happens, though? One almost invaraiably fails. … The reason is that we are continuing to tackle the symptons rather than the disease. If we try to get away from our unhappiness simply by trying to be good-humoured, we are still unaware of the fundamental cause of our being bad-tempered. …

Whatever our problem, we automatically – almost instinctively – set
up a goal of being happy in order to get away from our unhappiness. … We revert automatically to setting up a goal of one kind or another
rather than continuing to be aware, and trying to understand very deeply why the problem arises. Setting up goals is an automatic reflex to short-circuit the development of awareness and self-knowledge – in short to get away from ourselves.

To start with, we need a change of attitude. Rather than trying to escape from ourselves, we need to begin to accept the reality fo what we are. We need to undertand – and not just intellectually – why we are what we are. If we are suffering, well, we don’t just reach out for chocolate. We need to recognize the fact that we suffer and look at it more and more deeply. Or if we’re happy we need to recognize that fully, take it in more and more deeply, instead of running from it into guilt, or into some sort of excitable intoxication. …

For some people this sort of understanding, this sort of penetration
or insight, will come in the course of meditation. … Meditation really involves – getting down to the bedrock of the mind, illuminating the mind from the bottom upwards, as it were. It is about exposing to oneself one’s motives, the deep-seated causes of one’s mental states, one’s experiences, one’s joy and one’s suffering, and so on. In this way real growth in awareness will come about. …

We do not succeed in banishing unhappiness by pretending to ourselves that we are happy, by shoving our misery out of sight. The first step is to accept the reality of our condition: if there is an underlying unhappiness in our lives, we must face up the fact. It is certainly good to be cheerful and positive, but not at the expense of fooling ourselves. … It is by trying too hard to escape from unhappiness that we fail to do so. The real key is awareness, self-knowledge.”

Sangharakshita, What is the Dharma?


Het belang van spirituele vriendschap

“But on this particular occasion the Buddha and Ananda were on their own, just sitting quietly together, when Ananda suddenly came out with something to which he had obviously given a bit of thought. He said, “Lord, I think that spiritual friendship is half the spiritual life.” … But the Buddha said, “Ananda, you’re wrong. Spiritual friendship is not half the spiritual life; it’s the whole of it.”

Why is this? Of course we learn from those we associate with, especially those who are more mature than we are, and learning will clearly be important if we are to make progress in the spiritual life. … The real significance of the deep individual-to-individual contact that Going for Refuge to the Sangha involves lies in a simple psychological fact: we get to know ourselves best in relation to other people. …

It is not only a matter of activating our understanding. Meeting certain people can disturb aspects of us which had been rather deeply buried. We say that particular people “bring out the worst in us.” Perhaps nothing is said, but they somehow touch a raw nerve. .. Of course, that unpleasant side of us was always there, but it needed that person to bring it to the surface. In this apparently negative – but highly spiritually beneficial – way too, other people can introduce us to ourselves. We cannot transform ourselves unless we have a full sense of what lies within us.

Conversely, certain people seem to “bring out the best in us.” … Other people can also sometimes activate resources of kindness and decency that we didn’t know we had. … We generally need the stimulation, reassurance, and enthusiasm of others who are going in the same direction as we are. We are naturally stimulated by someone who shares our special interest in something. Even though we still have to put in the effort ourselves, at least we see the point of it more clearly – we are less undermined by doubts.”

Sangharakshita, What is the Sangha?


De reactieve & de creatieve geest

“Besides being conditioned and mechanical, the reactive mind is repetitive. Being ‘programmed’ as it were by needs of which it is largely unconscious, it reacts to the same stimuli in much the same way. … It is owing to this characteristic of the reactive mind that ‘human’ life as a whole becomes so much a matter of fixed and settled habit, in a world of routine. … Even our religious life, if we are not careful, can become incorporated into the routine, . …

The reactive mind is the unaware mind. Whatever it does, it does without any real knowledge of what it is that it is doing. Metaphorically speaking, the reactive mind is asleep. Those in whom it predominates can, therefore, be described as asleep rather than awake. In a state of sleep they live out their lives; in a state of sleep they eat, drink, talk, work, play, vote, make love; in a state of sleep, even, they read books on Buddhism and try to meditate.  … It is with this realization — when we become aware of our own unawareness, when we wake up to the fact that we are asleep – that spiritual life begins. …

The characteristics of the creative mind are the opposite of those of the reactive mind. The creative mind does not re-act. It is not dependent on, or determined by, the stimuli with which it comes into contact. On the contrary, it is active on its own account, functioning spontaneously, out of the depths of its own intrinsic nature. … Its optimism is not, however, the superficial optimism of the streets, no mere unthinking reaction to, or rationalization of, pleasurable stimuli. …

On the contrary, the optimism of the creative mind persists despite unpleasant stimuli, despite conditions unfavourable for optimism, or even when there are no conditions for it at all. The creative mind loves where there is no reason to love, is happy where there is no reason for happiness, creates where there is no possibility of creativity, and in this way ‘builds a heaven in hell’s despair’.”

Sangharakshita, Mind: Reactive and Creative