The Essential Sangharakshita - Table of Contents

A Half-Century of Writings From the Founder of The Friends of the Western Buddhist Order


792 pages, 6 x 9 inches


ISBN 9780861715855

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eBook Bundle (PDF, epub, mobi)


ISBN 9780861718474

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Editor’s Preface

A Biographical Sketch of Sangharakshita  

Part One: The Essentials

1. Who Is the Buddha?           
1. The Buddha’s Journey to Enlightenment         
2. The Symbolic Meaning of the Four Sights         
3. The Characteristics of Existence            
4. Dukkha as an Example of Conditionality           
5. The Buddha’s Victory      
6. Archetypal Symbolism in the Biography of the Buddha         
7. Inspiration from the Buddha’s Life       

2. Going for Refuge    
1. “Coming Home” to Buddhism     
2. What Going for Refuge Is            
3. Going for Refuge and the Concept of Escape    

3. The Path to Enlightenment
1. “What Is Your Dharma?”: The Buddha’s Answer to Mahapajapati Gotami  
2. The Arising of Vision        
3. The Connection between Philosophy and Practice
4. The Essence of the Dharma        
5. The Path as a Symbol      
6. Spiritual Growth: Developmental or Immanent?
7. What Is Nirvana?

4. Buddhism—One or Many?            
1. Variety and Unity in the Buddhist Tradition
2. The Forms of Eastern Buddhism           
3. The Ideal Approach to Buddhism          
4. What Do All the Schools of Buddhism Have in Common?

Part Two: Buddhism and the Mind

1. Thinking Clearly     
1. “The Impossibility of Retracting an Opinion I Believe to Be True”    
2. The Voice Within  
3. Getting a Clear Idea of Buddhism          
4. Learning to Think            
5. More and More of Less and Less            

2. Mind Reactive and Creative           
1. Sonnet       
2. The Path of Regular Steps and the Path of Irregular Steps
3. What Do We Really Know?         
4. Mind Reactive, Mind Creative     
5. The Perfection of Wisdom—The Flavor of Irrelevance           
6. The Shattering Nature of Reality           
7. “Above me broods . . .”     

3. Views and Truths   
1. Wrong Views, Right Views, and Perfect Vision  
2. No “Ready-made” Buddhist Answers    
3. The Anatta Doctrine         
4. Breaking the Fetters        
5. Life Is King            
6. The Buddhist Attitude to Death
7. Reflections on Impermanence    
8. How to Reflect      
9. Karma and Rebirth          
10. Is It Necessary for a Buddhist to Believe in Rebirth?            

4. Buddhism among -isms and -ologies        
1. Religion as Revelation or Discovery       
2. The Buddha’s Attitude toward the Teachings of His Time     
3. The Transcendental Critique of Religion          
4. The Individual and the Group    
5. The Ideal Student of Buddhism
6. Formulations of the Buddhist Path        
7. Buddhism and Evolution            

Part Three: Art, Beauty, and Myth in the Buddhist Tradition

1. The Place of Beauty in the Spiritual Life   
1. Sangharakshita I and Sangharakshita II           
2. Beauty as a Characteristic of Life           
3. Learning to See    
4. Bamboos   
5. The Greater Mandala of Aesthetic Appreciation          
6. Learning to Stand Still     
7. Pauses and Empty Spaces          
8. The Simple Life    

2. Buddhism and Art  
1. The Transformative Power of Art          
2. Art as an Integral Part of Spiritual Life
3. Buddhism and Western Culture            
4. The Dharma in Western Poetry
5. Stretching the Mind through Art           

3. The Creative Life    
1. After Rilke
2. Entering a Spiritual Dimension through Writing         
3. A Creative Relationship with the World            
4. Should Buddhists Have a Sense of Humor?      
5. The Playful Arts   

4. A “Buddhist Bible”?—Buddhist Scriptures and Where They Come From
1. The Sea of Buddhist Literature  
2. The Origin of the Buddhist Scriptures  
3. How to Read Buddhist Texts      
4. Buddhist Stories   
5. The Bible Designed to Be Read as Literature   
6. Pali Scriptures and Mahayana Sutras   

5. Dreams, Myths, and Symbols        
1. The Nature of Tantric Buddhism           
2. The Value of the Dream State    
3. What Is Myth?      
4. The Emergence of Myth in Buddhism   
5. Taking Myths Literally     
6. The Tibetan Wheel of Life          
7. The Parable of the Burning House        
8. The Myth of the Return Journey            

Part Four: Buddhism and the Heart

1. Buddhism and Emotional Life       
1. Involving the Emotions in Spiritual Life
2. Being Moved by the Dharma      
3. The Difference between Feelings and Emotions          
4. Cultivating Positive Emotions     
5. Dealing with Desire         
6. Desire for the Eternal      
7. Renunciation: Not Giving Up but Growing Up  
8. Remembering the Retreat          
9. The Practice of Forbearance       
10. The Importance of Feeling Alive          

2. Meditation  
1. Meditation
2. Rainy Season Retreat       
3. The Five Basic Methods of Meditation   
4. Finding a Place to Meditate        
5. Happiness and Concentration    
6. Why Are We So Easily Distracted?         
7. The Japanese Tea Ceremony      
8. Mindfulness and Spontaneity    
9. How to Succeed at Meditation    
10. Meditation Isn’t the Only Way 
11. Tantric Meditation: The Yidam
12. White Tara         

3. Faith, Devotion, and Ritual
1. Visiting Ghoom Monastery with Lama Govinda
2. The Nature of Buddhist Faith     
3. The Necessity of Dependence    
4. What Is Ritual Trying to Achieve?          
5. Secret Wings         
6. The Importance of Spiritual Receptivity           
7. “In the woods are many more”  
8. Everything That Lives Is Holy     
9. Devotion at Lumbini        
10. Call Forth as Much as You Can

4. Buddhism and the Natural World
1. Animism and Spiritual Life         
2. Feeling That the Universe Is Alive         
3. The Traditional Society   

5. Friends and Teachers         
1. Why Should a Buddha Need a Friend?
2. The Network of Relationships    
3. The Importance of Spiritual Friendship            
4. Friendship: The Whole of the Spiritual Life?    
5. Is a Guru Necessary?       
6. Spiritual Hierarchy          
7. Gratitude   

Part Five: Buddhism and the World

1. Compassionate Activity     
1. The Bodhisattva’s Reply  
2. Compassion: The Most Important Virtue          
3. Responding to the Needs of Others       
4. Withdrawal and Involvement    
5. Giving: The Basic Buddhist Virtue          
6. The Altruistic Dimension of Going for Refuge   
7. Is the Bodhisattva Ideal Realistic?          
8. Ways of Helping   

2. Buddhist Ethics      
1. Before Dawn         
2. The Basis of Buddhist Ethics      
3. The Five Precepts            
4. Natural Morality and Conventional Morality    
5. Beyond “Buddhist Respectability”         
6. The Ethics of Speech       
7. Rights and Duties
8. Mindfulness of Purpose  
9. Why We Conceal Things
10. Buddhist Confession     
11. “The Oppression of Existence”            

3. The Nature of Spiritual Effort       
1. Living with Purpose         
2. The Spiral Path    
3. The Four Exertions          
4. What Counts as Laziness?           
5. Discipline  
6. A Regular Routine            
7. Certainty of Success         
8. Encountering the Dakini

4. Great Buddhists of the Twentieth Century            

5. Living in the World            
1. The Ideal Society  
2. The Basis of Ethical Work           
3. Right Livelihood Businesses        
4. Being Easy to Support     
5. The Group and the Individual    
6. The Integration of Buddhism into Western Society     
7. Getting Comfortable in the Pure Land?

6. Buddhism and the Future of the World     
1. Buddhism and World Peace       
2. A Buddhist Approach to World Problems         
3. The Miracle of Spiritual Development   

Page References in Source Works for Extracts Quoted   
About the Editor      
About the FWBO