Questions in the Sand by Dharmavidya

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew Cheffings (temple host) 1 year, 9 months ago.

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  • #2119

    book“Two and a half thousand years ago the Buddha taught by answering the questions of his followers and disciples. In this way he set out his complete philosophy and his guide to the spiritual path.

    Here David Brazier responds to questions from his own students. The answers are crafted with care and each illuminates a different aspect of the Buddha’s teaching.

    This book will speak to people at the start of their spiritual journeys, and those with decades of experience. Covering themes such as human nature, meditation, faith and ethics, there is something here for everyone.”

    What do you think? What are your favourite bits? Which bits do you disagree with? Tell us below 🙂

  • #2120

    I’ve nearly finished my first read through of the book. I used p. 95 on the four noble truths for our Leicester Home Group. I’m enjoying reading the book very much. I feel some of the questions are a bit cheeky but Darmavidya responded to those with lots of humour. His short answers are often hilarious. I like the little poems which sum things up. The editing needs mentioning as it skillfully stitches the book together and contributes to its form, which I find very effective. For me, the best thing about the book is that Dharmavidya writes about things which are at the very root of Buddhism, things which are not often written about in my experience, and, when not written about, can lead to lots of odd beliefs and lots of confusion- confusion which comes from omission- I can end up doing practice on a misunderstanding because no-one explained what it was for in the first place- I think this is sometimes deliberate and sometimes because the person instructing me doesn’t know either. To me the book is sensible/intelligent (not necessarily intellectual) Buddhism rather than scary Buddhism- and I do find some Buddhism scary when cross deities and monsters start appearing willy-nilly and when the tone of voice, the expression, comes from nowhere I have ever been before and would probably not really want to go to either. I really appreciate the emphasis away from oneness and negation of opposites. I have found these positions in Buddhism to suppress intelligence (thank you, Dharmavidya, for articulating this) and they often feel extremely manipulative to me- I feel I can’t respond to anything without implying an opposite, I feel confused (not in a helpful way), I end up feeling alienated from the practice. Altogether, a very helpful book.

  • #2122

    Thanks Andrew – I enjoyed reading about your reading 🙂 I wonder if you’d mind posting a review up on Amazon?

  • #2125

    Yes, I’m planning to put a review on Amazon when I’ve finished reading the book. I have ideas flitting about in my mind and writing the above has no doubt helped to crystallize something. NAB

  • #2126

    Michael Sabani

    I’ve just started reading this now and it’s been fantastic. Still in the beginning, but just a lot of things that I think I needed to hear!

  • #2129

    Ian Summers-Noble

    Started reading it in my usual delusional “headstuff” way..scan it through, re-read and scribble/annotate most meaningful bits for “intellectual” re-appraisal! How deluded! Dharmavidya sensitively provides us with “gut-punch” guidance to faith in Amida, cutting through our “headstuff”. Working my way slowly through the book…enjoying the “Aha” pauses 🙂

  • #2132

    I have now completed my first read of Questions in the Sand. It was a joy to read from end to end. Only one section stood out as a bit incongruent- Buddhism and Christianity. It was interesting to read Dharmavidya’s ideas about Jesus’ life after his crucifixion but I felt it was of very limited value spiritually (unlike the rest of the book). This is because it is crucial for most Christians to believe that Jesus was falsely arrested, tried and tortured, then executed. His physical death is an essential part of the spiritual narrative because Jesus is doing all these things for us and transcending them so that, by having faith in him, when these or similar things happen to us, he can carry us so that we can transcend them also, through his power and strength (there is a Pureland parallel in the execution and ojo of Honen’s disciples). In other words, it may be interesting to speculate about the physical story of Jesus after his crucifixion but if the result is contrary to the spiritual narrative I’m not sure about its value, given that the spiritual narrative is the mainstay of the religion, not the physical nuts and bolts.

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