The Question of Lifestyle

The Question of Lifestyle

One of Urgen Sangharakshita’s more frequently repeated aphorisms is that ‘Going for Refuge is primary, life style is secondary’.  This is because it doesn’t matter how a Buddhist lives if he or she is truly Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels because the way we live our lives will naturally be an expression of an effective Going for Refuge.  What it doesn’t mean is that a practicing Buddhist can lead any old lifestyle. Some lifestyles offer a very explicit expression of the Buddhist Vision and others are obviously inimical to it.  Some clearly support one’s spiritual efforts, and others equally clearly undermine them.  The Buddha led the life of a wandering ascetic.  He praised this lifestyle and promoted it amongst his followers exhorting them to ‘Go forth from home into homelessness.’  Historically, most of the really exceptional teachers and exemplars of the Buddhist life have been monks, but none have been married – is there a reason for this?  Many modern Western Buddhists hold the view that married family life is the most suitable lifestyle for the practice of Buddhism in the West.  Some of the most extreme even suggest that celibacy, being a sort of perverted accretion to the Buddhist tradition, has no intrinsic spiritual value. Is this an example of Western culture transforming Buddhism, rather than Buddhism transforming Western culture? Continue reading

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Welcome to the Radical Buddhist

Welcome to the Radical Buddhist

The Buddhist life is many things. It is an ethical life based on doing good for the benefit of oneself and others. It is a religion offering hope beyond the limitations of this world. It has it’s arts and sciences, philosophy, myth, and even political dimensions. It evokes deep devotion and offers profound wisdom. But essentially it is a path to complete individual spiritual liberation. Buddhism offers a radical freedom from everything that binds us. The committed pursuit of this freedom which was discovered by the Buddha is, we think, the essence of the Buddhist life
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