I am reading Doug Osto’s book Power, Wealth and Women in Indian Mahayana Buddhism:
The Gandavyuha-sutra Amazon

It is thorough, academic and requires concentration. but is very well written. I am finding it an absolute delight. I can imagine that Doug must be a superb teacher - lucky the students that populate his classes. Furthermore, one can feel his love of the text coming through. I am sure that putting together this work, while requiring a vast amount of research, study and reflection, was no chore even though it must have been a lot of work.

Many academic books are turgid. This one is exemplary in its clarity which is what makes it a pleasure to read. There are plenty of long complicated words, but all is explained, and in a manner that the intelligent general reader can handle. This is a gift.

The subject matter is the Gandhavyuha Sutra which tells the story of the pilgrim Sudhana who is sent by Manjushri to visit and learn from a series of spiritual friends (kalyanamtras) who are all in some sense emanations of Vairochana, the highest Buddha. In this story Vairochana is the “other power” and Sudhana is the “foolish being”, yet one who emerges as very spiritually advanced. This story became of immense importance in medieval Mahayana Buddhism as it displays in narrative form the whole devotional world view.

Osto’s treatment of the subject is not a straightforward commentary. He wants to position the narrative in terms of the society in which it came into being - India in the early centuries of the common era. In particular he clarifies the worldview of the sutra and shows what we can know from an analysis of its narrative structure and then draws out three particular dimensions - power, wealth and women - for special attention teasing out the connections between the content of the sutra and the society it was written in. As he says,  “Power, wealth and gender are perennial concerns of every society.”

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JOHNNY HALLYDAY

Posted by David Brazier on December 6, 2017 at 10:08 1 Comment

Johnny Hallyday died just after midnight this morning.

A vous autres, hommes faibles et merveilleux

Qui mettez tant de grâce a vous retirer du jeu

Il faut qu'une main posée sur votre épaule

Vous pousse vers la vie, cette main tendre et légère

On a tous quelque chose en nous de Tennessee

Cette volonté de prolonger la nuit

Ce désir fou de vivre une autre vie

Ce rêve en nous avec ses mots à lui

Quelque chose de Tennessee

Cette force qui nous…

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THE RUBICON

Posted by Susthama Kim on December 5, 2017 at 22:30 0 Comments

i have been attending a parent and toddler group at the Steiner school in Kings Langley for a little while. I first started going there with Selena and then started taking Dorian there in September. It’s a lovely place with a different outlook and philosophy, and where I have learned about the Rubicon stage, but unfortunately the regulatory body Ofsted had rated it badly and so it had to introduce radical measures in order to stay open. 

But these changes have made things worse for…

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By sheer power of aspiration

Posted by Susthama Kim on December 3, 2017 at 22:30 4 Comments

Ever since my ordination back in Dec 2003 I have always loved being involved in or being a witness to someone taking a step onto the Buddhist path. The aspirant or candidate taking on the Amida precepts always appears solemn, and sincere, and as I listen to the vows and see how willing they are to aspire to live an ideal life they become even bigger with a certain amount of gravitas and I find myself shrinking and becoming less Significant. It is a wonderfully moving experience and so I always… Continue

letter to Father Christmas

Posted by Susthama Kim on December 2, 2017 at 22:36 6 Comments

Dear Father Christmas,



Please can I have a light up Christmas tree and the prettiest baubles in your workshop. Love Selena



My daughter is 5 and loves decorations. She would love to have a garden with lots of flowers and fruit trees and plants but we live in a flat with a balcony so she spends time enjoying other people’s garden whenever she can. So maybe this Christmas we will try and create a mini Pureland garden on our balcony.



This Bodhi retreat she and her… Continue

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