3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2013
This is to be used as a study guide for people who are involved with the Triratna Community and who want to go deeper into the Dharma as taught by Sangharakshita and his disciples. You need to be a 'practising' Buddhist to get the full benefits, as Dharma study is there to change us, not just be of academic interest. It is practical in the sense of knowing what we have 'to do' as well as examining our views, that underly our behaviour. So this is good stuff.
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 2014
If you are thinking of purchasing this you probably made it through your first year of Mitra study already! Which is absolutely free!* So the study is pretty much equally spread out between studying these Triratna materials, and quasi group psychotherapy, all led by an OM who is basically your handler for the duration – sorry! – what am I thinking, your spiritual better, helping you go more effectively for refuge.
Priced at just 77p* this is cheap, cheap, cheap, and the teaching for the 4-year course is absolutely free*. What's in the book then? It’s 395 pages long! so a lot to cover in a year. You will cover, among other things, Sangharaskita’s interpretation of the eightfold path (don't buy the book! it is just a transcript, just listen to it on free Buddhist audio instead, you don’t need to pay anything*). A book by Dhivan Jones' 'This being that becomes'. Which you do have to pay for I think, but is cheap*. Directions to listen to Dhammadinna’s 'mindturning' talks (an unfortunate phrase if there ever was one, be ready to pinch yourself), on free* Buddhist audio again, and a list of questions to discuss what was said (if you managed to stay fully conscious that is).
The debates you will have! During the unit ‘Masculinity’ and ‘Femininity’ in the Spiritual Life (pg 283 you will be asked to answer such questions as:
‘4. What is tolerance? How does it differ from pseudo-egalitarianism?’
Eh, what guv? Can't you speak English innit and not all these funny Sanskrit words I doan understan.
And, also on pg 283:
‘8. ‗The bodhisattva can be described as psychologically and spiritually bisexual, integrating the masculine and the feminine at every level of his or her psychological and spiritual experience.‘ (p.144) What do you think Sangharakshita means by this?’
Eek! I’ll pass on that one.
Then the notion of spiritual hierarchy is explored pg 285:
‘5. ‗To put oneself in the position of serving someone is to acknowledge that the person one is serving is better than oneself in some respects. It is this that many people are unwilling to do.‘ (p.177) Have you ever been in the position of serving others? If so, what has been your experience of this?’
Nice. I can actually answer that one, but not here.
So should you buy this book? What the hell! It’s only 77p* so you’re not going to break the bank by buying it, now are you? You could buy all four years worth of material for less than a high street cup of coffee and croissant (well, perhaps a croissant too would be pushing it, best just stick to the cup of coffee).
* NB ordination is NOT free or cheap, most definitely not.