These talks have all been given at Padmaloka Retreat Centre and uploaded to the Free Buddhist Audio website.
"Taking this image of the human form the Bodhicitta transmutes it into the priceless image of the Jewel of the Conqueror. Grasp tightly this highly potent elixir, known as the Bodhicitta, which must be thoroughly worked." In his first talk on Shantideva's Bodhicaryavatara, given on a day retreat to the Padmaloka community, Padmavajra speaks of Sangharakshita's evocation of the Bodhicitta. He goes on to talk about his discovery of the Bodhicarayavatara and what is known of the life of Shantideva. The main part of the talk is Padmavajra's discussion of some of the verses of the first chapter of the Bodhicaryavatara, especially of verse ten, in which the Bodhicitta is likened to the highly potent quicksilver elixir of the alchemist, capable of transforming the worst of things into the Bodhicitta. Talk given at Padmaloka Retreat Centre on the 1st April 2020.
On the thirtieth anniversary of death of Urgyen Sangharakshita's teacher - Dhardo Rimpoche, Padmavajra commemorates Rinpoche's life, work and example and how his message might inspire us in these fearful times. The talk was given in the Padmaloka shrine room to the Padmaloka community on a day devoted to honouring Dhardo Rimpoche.
Satyaraja leads us through the Bodhicitta practice, otherwise known as 'tonglen'. I'd recommend first listening to the talk on the practice given by Satyaraja during the Padmaloka 2018 Winter Retreat, 'The Awakening of the Bodhi Heart', where he introduces and explains the practice more fully: https://www.freebuddhistaudio.com/audio/details?num=LOC4626 The meditation was recorded during a Padmaloka community day retreat held during the 'COVID-19 rainy season'.
Towards the end of 2018 Satyaraja led the Padmaloka Winter Retreat, 'The Awakening of the Bodhi Heart'. This was a two-week intensive meditation retreat for men training for ordination and Order members. The retreat was centred around the 'Bodhicitta practice', also known as 'tonglen', a weighty meditation practice that, through contemplating emptiness and arousing great compassion, aims at nothing less than giving rise to the Bodhicitta, or 'will to Enlightenment' for the benefit of all. During this talk Satyaraja introduces us to the principles and form of this profound practice.
At the beginning of March Satyaraja led a new retreat at Padmaloka, titled 'Essential Meditation'. The aim was to provide people with a foundational toolkit of principles and practical guidance to help them take full ownership of their meditation practice and therefore develop it to the next level. The retreat covered all areas of working in meditation from posture, balanced effort and working on the hindrances, to access concentration, the dhyanas and insight. The talks are by Satyaraja, Dharmadipa and Surata. Some of the meditations were also recorded, which you may like to use for guideded meditation. It was amazing to see the extent to which people's meditation practices were transformed and enriched during the course of the week, just by emphasizing and applying these so called 'basics'. You can download a document containing the various lists mentioned in the talks here: bit.ly/EssentialLists
Padmavajra gives a talk on how to Go for Refuge in times of adversity, even in a time of fear. Given the situation of the world today, with threat of sickness and great uncertainty, how do we practise as Buddhists? How do we continue to deepen our practice of loving kindness, of awareness? What is the real response to the situation we find ourselves in today? Recorded on the 18th March 2020 in the Padmaloka shrine room, with an audience of the Padmaloka community.
In this talk Bodhinaga explores Bhante Sangharakshitas classic talk 'Mind - Reactive and Creative', given in 1967. He does this through the image of the Wheel of Life and its power to function as a mirror, reflecting back our mind. He also uses personal examples to ellucidate how to check the reactive mind and ccultivate the creative mind. Talk given during the February Great Gathering weekend at Padmaloka Retreat Centre.
In this talk Padmavajra explores the first two verses of the Dhammapada and their far reaching implications. He explores how we create not only our own happiness or suffering through our actions but also how we create worlds, worlds of suffering or worlds conducive to human growth and even freedom. He then describes how the Bodhisattva works tirelessly and heroicly to create a Buddha field for the benefit of all beings. Talk given during the February Great Gathering weekend at Padmaloka Retreat Centre.
In this talk Padmavajra explores the Altruistic dimension of Going for Refuge - The Bodhisattva Ideal - through Bhante's poem 'The Guardian Wall'. He particularly explores the line in the poem: 'The loveliest Bodhisattvas are the anonymous' and what this means for somebody aspiring to practice the great ideal of the Bodhisattva. Talk given at Padmaloka retreat centre during the 'Bodhisattva Ideal' retreat in January 2020.
In this short personal talk, Aryadasa discusses his experience of moving through fear in order to live a life more dedicated to love and friendship. He talks about the difficulties involved in this transition and the fruits that come from working through such difficulties. Talk given at Padmaloka Retreat Centre in November 2019 as part of the Sub35 Men's 'Fearless Love' retreat.
In this talk Satyakirti explores a set of ways through which we can work with fear in our practice, particularly through love and friendship. Using the Angulimala Sutta as an example, he explains how even the greatest fears can be overcome, and how a Buddha is entirely free from fear. Talk given at Padmaloka Retreat Centre in December 2019 as part of the Sub35s 'Fearless Love' retreat.
In this short personal talk, Joris discusses his experience of moving through fear in order to live a life more dedicated to love and friendship. He talks about his movement away from a life of ambition and status and towards being increasingly connected with others. He also describes his experiences of the fears he had to overcome to make this movement. Talk given at Padmaloka Retreat Centre in November 2019 as part of the Sub35 Men's 'Fearless Love' retreat.
Saddharaja relates his first experiences and impact of Triratna culture on him. He explores the goddess Sarasvati from Chapter 7 of the sutra and the promises she makes to the monk who protects the sutra. This goddess represents culture and learning and the talk explores the cultures Buddhism has flourished in and the future of Buddhism in the world. The last of four talks given during the Open Retreat at Padmaloka Retreat Centre in October 2019.
Saddharaja introduces Chapter 18 The Chapter on the Tigress. He explores self-sacrifice as a component of the Bodhisattva Ideal. He goes on to explore compassion and altruism, and how we can develop these by letting go of attachment and hatred, and thereby gaining true freedom. The third of four talks given during the Open Retreat at Padmaloka Retreat Centre in October 2019.
Saddharaja describes the rainy season in India and its role in the origin of confession practice in Buddhism. He goes on to describe the different kinds of confession practice, their benefits and how they totally differ from confession in other religions. He also introduces the sutra's nexus, Chapter 3 The Chapter on Confession with it's great import and beauty. The second of four talks given during the Open Retreat at Padmaloka Retreat Centre in October 2019.
In this introductory talk to The Sutra of Golden Light, Saddharaja gives us an historical overview of the sutra, and its extraordinary reputation, plus a story about his own meeting with the sutra in 1983. He introduces chapters 1&2 and also suggests how we might best approach the sutra ourselves in order to experience its riches. The first of four talks given during the Open Retreat at Padmaloka Retreat Centre in October 2019.
In this talk Padmavajra speaks about his the inspiration he has gained from Dr Ambedkar's Dhamma Revolution. He draws on his experience of living and working in India with Indian order members, mitras and friends and how his own faith in the Dhamma has been deepened and strengthened through his encounter with the life and teachings of Dr Ambedkar. He also tells how we in the west can learn from Dr Ambedkar and his followers. Talk given during the October 2019 Great Gathering weekend at Padmaloka Retreat Centre.
The world is a mess. We all want to change it. But do we have a choice between making the world a better place and making ourselves a better being? In this talk Vadanya explores how our Dharma practice and our desire to make the world a better place can be two sides of the same coin, tackling the real great issues of our time. Talk given during the October 2019 Great Gathering weekend at Padmaloka Retreat Centre.
In his final talk exploring Bodhicaryavatara, Padmavajra introduces us to Shantideva's exposition of the Prajnaparamita, the Perfection of Wisdom. Here, Shantideva tells us about the two truths, the conventional and the ultimate, as well as of the true meaning emptiness, which is the cure for the terrible sufferings that we undergo. In doing this he gives us a glimpse of the Bodhisattva "respectfully teaching emptiness ... to those who imagine a real world". The vision of emptiness opens into the final chapter Parinamana, in which Shantideva dedicates the merit of his Bodhicaryavatara for the benefit of all beings. Shantideva's dedication describes the boundless creativity of the Bodhicitta. "It is for the sake of Wisdom that the Muni taught this entire collection of preparations. Therefore, in the desire to put an end to suffering, one should develop wisdom."
"What is so special about me?" - Shantideva's Perfection of Meditation In the penultimate talk in his series devoted to the Bodhicaryavatara, Padmavajra explores chapter eight, the Perfection of Meditation (dhyana paramita). In this chapter, Shantideva tells us that in order to go deeply into meditation, we need to go into the solitude of body and mind, renouncing all worldly attachments and the usual way in which we relate to others. Having doing that, he shows how to develop an entirely new mind and heart, with a completely different way of being with others. This is achieved through the realisation of the sameness of self and others and the exchange of self and others. "Why say many words. Fools do things for themselves, the Buddha works for the welfare of others. Just look at the difference".
"Like someone hankering for the pleasure and fruit of love-play" Padmavajra's seventh talk on Shantideva's Bodhicarayvatara is an exploration of chapter seven, the Perfection of Vigour (virya paramita). In this chapter Shantideva, makes it very clear that without virya there is no Enlightenment. He tells us what virya is, as well as what opposes virya, which include, sloth, laziness and self-contempt. He explains that virya is developed through the application of six powers: desire; pride; delight; letting go; dedication; and self-mastery. "Having become patient one should cultivate vigour, because Enlightenment depends on vigour. For without vigour there is no merit, just as there is no movement without wind".
'Serenity, freedom from disease, joy and long life, the happiness of an emperor, prosperity; these the patient person receives while continuing in cyclic existence.' Padmavajra's sixth talk on the Bodhicaryavatara explores Shantideva's thorough exploration of the perfection of patience. In this chapter, Shantideva brings our attention to the seriousness of the faults of hatred and anger. He shows how such states of mind arise and gives a number of ways in which patience can be cultivated in relation to the various sufferings inherent in life, especially towards those who cause us - or our nearest and dearest - harm. It is clear that the practice of patience requires tremendous faith, strength and vision if it is to be perfected.
'One should speak confident, measured words, clear in meaning, delighting the mind, pleasing to the ear, soft and slow, and stemming from love' In his fifth talk devoted to the Bodhicaryavatara, Padmavajra explores chapter five 'The Guarding of Total Awareness'. In this chapter Shantideva makes vividly clear the importance of mindfulness and awareness of purpose in the Bodhisattvas life. Shantideva tells us about the centrality and power of the mind and the need for scrupulous attention to every detail of our lives. His discussion of mindfulness embraces the importance of mindfulness of the body and it's movements, mindfulness of things, as well as mindfulness of others. He also reveals how we can develop and protect mindfulness. Shantideva's discussion makes it clear that the development of total awareness is achieved through a life wholeheartedly devoted to the Bodhisattva training.
A recording of the salutation to the Three Jewels, the Tiratanavandana, chanted in the Padmaloka Shrine room June 2020.
Padmasagara leads through the Going for Refuge and Prostration Practice. For an introduction to the practice, watch Padmasagara's video: https://youtu.be/UiC5xZQb8G8 Download the printouts to go along with the practice here: https://bit.ly/GFRprintout
Satyaraja leads through the visualization and mantra recitation practice of the Buddha Shakyamuni. This practice is sometimes practised during retreats at Padmaloka and in fact used to be given at the time of an individual becoming a mitra. The recording took place on Wednesday 6th May 2020 during a community silent retreat day at Padmaloka as part of a 2-day celebration of Wesak, otherwise known as Buddha Jayanti or Buddha Day.
"The defilements do not dwell in objects, nor in the collection of the senses, nor in the space in between. There is nowhere else for them to dwell and yet they churn up the entire universe." In his fourth talk on the Bodhicaryavatara, given on the weekly Padmaloka retreat, Padmavajra explores Shantideva's discussion of vigilance (apramada) in relation to the cultivation of the Bodhicitta. In this chapter, Shantideva takes a sober look at the promises he has made to liberate all beings and the full implications of breaking those promises. He takes a good hard look at what will destroy the Bodhicitta, which are the defilements (kleshas) and strongly evokes the warrior spirit, declaring war on the defilements. He also reveals that he will do that through cultivating 'wisdom's glare'.
"The defilements do not dwell in objects, nor in the collection of the senses, nor in the space in between. There is nowhere else for them to dwell and yet they churn up the entire universe." ï»¿ In his fourth talk on the Bodhicaryavatara, given on the weekly Padmaloka retreat, Padmavajra explores Shantideva's discussion of vigilance (apramada) in relation to the cultivation of the Bodhicitta. In this chapter, Shantideva takes a sober look at the promises he has made to liberate all beings and the full implications of breaking those promises. He takes a good hard look at what will destroy the Bodhicitta, which are the defilements (kleshas) and strongly evokes the warrior spirit, declaring war on the defilements. He also reveals that he will do that through cultivating 'wisdom's glare'.
"For the caravan of famished beings wandering the road of existence, hungry for the enjoyment of happiness, this is a feast of happiness offered as refreshment to all who come". In his third talk on the Bodhicaryavatara, Padmavajra explores themes from the third chapter, 'The Full Acceptance of the Bodhicitta', in which Shantideva describes the wonder of the arising of the Bodhicitta, the profound selflessness of the Bodhisattva Vow and the pride of being born as a Buddha son. The talk was given in honour of Bodhisattva Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Jayanti and our brothers and sisters in India. Throughout the talk Padmavajra refers to Dr Ambedkar's life.
"And I give myself to the Conquerors completely, and to their sons. Take possession of me Sublime Beings. In devotion I become your servant". In his second talk on the Bodhicaryavatara, Padmavajra tells us how Shantideva takes to heart, ever more firmly, the Bodhicitta, through his lavish performance of puja and a searing confession of faults. The talk was given in the shrine room on the weekly Padmaloka day retreat. It was given in honour of the anniversary of Sangharakshita's founding of the Triratna Buddhist Order on 7th April 1968.