Here we can discuss the principles upon which the Eleusis project will operate and the values that will provide its distinctiveness and cohesion.

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Comment by George Daly on August 31, 2016 at 20:23
Dear David
Thanks for your swift and helpful reply.
At the moment the prisons we work in are in
Uganda and Kenya. We hope to expand into other
East African countries. Exactly as you say, the cultural
differences are significant. There are very great problems
in the prisons but also some good things.
We do provide plenty of Education, Health and Access to Justice
initiatives. We run some singing groups and occasionally
a Yoga teacher visits some of the prisons.
Most prisoners have fairly fundamentalist religious views.
One of the broad aspirations of the Project is to transform
Criminal Justice systems and to transform the mindsets that
generate so many damaging vicious circles at the moment.
I was wondering how far some Buddhist practices could
be encouraged in this social context.
The Angulimala story makes an interesting starting point.
I will follow up your suggestions.
There is no need for you to do anything else but
if you happen to come across other interested people
I'd be grateful to hear about them.
Comment by David Brazier on August 31, 2016 at 19:26

That sounds like extremely worthwhile work. Where is your Africa project? Your question is a challenging one. There have been and are a variety of Buddhist prison projects, especially in the USA, but how relevant they would be to your people I'm not sure. Then there is the work of Naikan people in Japan. I think it would need some adaptation to fit local culture, but might then have some relevance.

Comment by George Daly on August 31, 2016 at 17:30
Dear David
As part of the work of the African Prisons Project we have
retreats for some of the people involved. I have often wondered
how Eleusis might be able to contribute. I often find it hard
to work out how to incorporate the wonders of Buddhism into
the lives of people caught up in prisons in our parts of Africa.
Is there anyone you know who may be able to help work out some
way of doing this. I have another Trustees' Strategy meeting coming up in September and I would like to float some ideas then.
Hope you are enjoying the Summer.
Comment by David Brazier on May 31, 2016 at 15:08

Thanks, George. I've added a response in Questions in the Sand

Comment by George Daly on May 30, 2016 at 22:17
Hi David
Thanks for your comments.
I was always interested in "Island" which Huxley wrote
as he was dying. It is a sort of Utopian counter to his
Brave New World. The island tries to live according to a blend
of Tantric Buddhism and Scots' pragmatism.
I enjoyed Guy Claxton's books as he seems to understand
huge amounts of modern science and psychology.
Derrida is often obscure but is famous for
saying that "there is nothing without a context"
and I wondered whether his thinking partly overlapped
with dependent origination.
Anoeda Judith is very Californian in style and I find
that many people interested in East meeting West quote her.
A few years ago a prisoner suggested I read Eckhart Tolle
so I did.
I tend to read fragments of these books and I try to avoid
fogging the mind with discursive reading but i do like to hear
what other people think of them.
I hope your own writing is going well.
Comment by David Brazier on May 30, 2016 at 20:22

I did read Huxley a very long time ago. I've read some Guy Claxton - also a long time ago. Jesus on the Kingdom of God is very good :-) The other three I have not read.

Comment by David Brazier on May 30, 2016 at 20:19

Very nice too. It's pouring with rain here.

Comment by George Daly on May 30, 2016 at 14:55
Thanks for the questions.
Now happily investigating in the garden.
Comment by David Brazier on May 30, 2016 at 12:41

When walking around a lake
Look at the lake.
Who is walking around today?
What is the lake saying?
Whose face is playing on the ripples?
Whose ripples are playing on the lakeside path?
Is the lake only now or was it there before the advent of oneself?
Will it still be there when one has ceased?
Is that a power?
Is that the heart of Buddhism?
Does one’s Buddhism have heart?
How many chakras has one drowned in the lake?
Is this all just a deconstruction of the kingdom of God?
What are those hungry ducks saying?
They too are caring for their chicks.
How beautiful, the sunshine reflecting on the water!
Gazing into the blue, I see a few clouds sailing in.

Comment by George Daly on May 30, 2016 at 12:32
Just back from a pleasant walk round the lake
reflecting on your many points.

When thinking about and discussing how Buddhism helps
I often find myself trying to put together a recipe or
cocktail of ideas and practices. Some ingredients come up
many times.

At some time I would be interested to know what you think
aboutany of the following. Do they resonate or jar with your
own understanding?

Eckhart Tolle on The Power of Now
Guy Claxton on The Heart of Buddhism
Aldous Huxley's Island
Anoeda Judith on the chakras
Derrida on Deconstruction
Jesus on the Kingdom of God

I realise this is a big ask but if you
have the time to share your responses
to any of these I'd be grateful.


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