Thursday, July 27, 2017

What is the True Nature of Existence? (audio)

Ven. Bodhi; Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly; Urban Dharma
A buddha is a supremely enlightened teacher like the historical Buddha Shakyamuni.
Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ph.D.
American Theravada Buddhist scholar-monk Bhikkhu Bodhi once created a ten-part audio course on Buddhism called "The Buddha's Teaching: As It Is" while living in Washington Buddhist Vihara in DC.

It was 1981 and Bhante G (then president of the Buddhist Vihara Society) suggested that young Bhikkhu Bodhi record lectures so the temple could distribute them as a set.

Traveling to Kandy, Sri Lanka -- where Bhikkhu Bodhi was living as editor of the Buddhist Publication Society -- to get permission to more widely publish these teachings. Bhikkhu Bodhi gladly gave it so long as it was not-for-profit but instead a gift of Dharma. The lectures are now in the "public domain," which means anyone may copy and help distribute them.

They make the most sense when listened to in the sequence Bhikkhu Bodhi recorded and listed them as they build on one another. These are MP3 files (free download) thanks to the great work of Los Angeles' Ven. Kusala at

Our noble meditation teacher Kalyani recommends they be placed on an MP3 player and listened to throughout the day. The simple merit of giving the gift of Dharma becomes supramundane when one listens and gains insight into the Buddha's message. Special thank you Bhikkhu Bodhi for decades of remarkable English scholarship bringing the Teachings to life.

AS IT IS (audio files)
  1. The Buddha - MP3 - 1:23 min - 19 MB
  2. The Four Noble Truths - MP3 - 1:21 min - 18.6 MB
  3. The True Nature of Existence - MP3 - 1:18 min - 18 MB
  4. Dependent Origination - MP3 - 1:15 min - 17.2 MB
  5. Rebirth and Karma - MP3 - 1:23 min - 19.1 MB
  6. Nirvana - MP3 - 1:16 min - 17.5 MB
  7. The Noble Eightfold Path - MP3 - 1:19 min - 18.1 MB
  8. Meditation - MP3 - 1:23 min - 19 MB
  9. Social Teachings of the Buddha - MP3 - 1:17 min - 17.7 MB
  10. The Sangha - MP3 - 1:18 min - 17.9 MB
Wisdom Quarterly
  1. The series begins by introducing what a buddha is and who the Buddha was.
  2. Then it moves on to the core teachings, Buddhism encapsulated in the Four Ennobling Truths. ("Noble" means enlightened).
  3. Reality is explained in Lecture 3.
  4. Then the means of gaining liberating-insight by mindful contemplation of the 12 links of causality called Dependent Origination to explain how the present suffering is rooted in the past.
  5. This leads to a discussion of rebirth and karma, essential links that reveal the true nature of disappointment (suffering or dukkha) central to the Buddha's teaching on how to bring about the end of suffering in the very life.
  6. Nirvana (called nibbana in Pali) is the complete cessation of suffering. It is NOT nothingness, emptiness, or the void. It is far subtler than we will ever imagine.
  7. It is brought about by cultivating the supramundane Noble Eightfold Path  of paths-and-fruits, magga-and-phala.
  8. This path is one of meditation (actual practice) more than intellectual study and detached learning.
  9. But self-cultivation in Buddhism also includes a sensitivity to the social dimension that critics of the ancient Theravada ("Teaching of the Buddhist Elders") school often cite as self-serving, wrongly assuming that the Buddha neglected society when in fact so much of his teachings are concerned with the betterment of a world that does not for the most part meditate.
  10. Those who dedicate their lives to meditating, to preserving the Dharma, and to teaching are the Sangha, the Monastic Order. As Americans and Socially Engaged Buddhists, we tend to dismiss the Order of Nuns and Monks (and countless temporarily-ordained practitioners) as an anachronism even as they continue to be a vibrant part of Buddhism.

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