A World On Fire: Buddha Dharma for These Times

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We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.
Native American wisdom

As of writing, parts of our world are quite literally on fire, literally and metaphorically. The dire consequences of unmitigated human growth, consumption and expansion are undeniable. In this series of three Insight Dialogue workshops, we will combine the teachings of the Buddha with the nourishment of authentic community connection to explore and address the multi-layered crises we are facing. The sessions can be taken as a deepening sequence, or they can stand alone.

  1. I See You Mara: Making the Invisible Visible

     24th September, 4 -8pm UK

    In the story of the Buddha’s awakening, the phrase “I see you, Mara,” refers to his capacity to see clearly and work with the subtle and seductive forces of delusion, symbolised by the figure Mara. 2600 years later, in a globalised, digitalised world, how do these forces of Mara manifest for us? In what ways are we seduced, befuddled, conditioned and confused as we attempt to navigate our way through the immense challenges we face? Whether it’s the degradation of the natural world or social and economic injustices, what does Buddhism have to offer that can help us understand and respond appropriately? In this workshop, we will explore these questions experientially, with the objective of making visible what may have been invisible and difficult to see. We will engage in dialogue practices that explore experiences such as lack and sufficiency, gratitude and gratification, acquisition and relinquishment. Through weaving deep community connection, our aim is to develop clear-seeing, inspiration and resourcefulness.

  2. The Ecological ‘Self’

    29th October, 4 -8pm UK

    The Buddha teaches that much of our suffering is rooted in the delusion of a seemingly separate and permanent self. The industrialised societies in which many of us live have developed by perpetuating the myth of separation, which then allows for domination and exploitation of “others” and the earth. These times of ecological and social crises are a direct consequence of this misperception of reality. How might sharpening our senses, and opening our heart-minds to the wider human and more-than-human world cultivate a gradual healing from this sense of separation? In this workshop we will investigate our entanglement within dualistic perspectives, and individualistic ideologies. We will explore how liberation is intimately tied to a widened apprehension of what it means to be alive on this earth. We will engage in meditative practices that support us to recognise and experience the existential reality of our interdependence with all of life.

  3. A Moral Reckoning

    18th November, 4 -8pm UK

    The ecological and social crises we face cause untold suffering on multiple levels, yet we don’t hear much about the element of moral suffering that they induce. Moral suffering is the harm we experience when we witness or participate in actions that go against our basic integrity. The Buddha taught that Hiri and Ottappa are the protectors of the world; Hiri refers to conscience or self respect, Ottappa is a fear of wrongdoing out of respect for others. These protectors remind us that in a fundamentally interdependent world our actions and choices matter, because they have results, both for ourselves and for one another. In this workshop, we will reflect upon the teachings of Hiri and Ottappa in investigating the ethical dimensions of the challenges we are facing. We will ask, what it means to live with integrity in our current conditions? We will explore whether the moral injury of climate devastation, injustice and inequity might be the impetus for a commitment to live according to our deepest values.

* Please forgive the generalisations of ‘we’ and ‘our’, you will know if these pronouns apply to you.