My father Kenneth (1922-2003) was a builder. By profession he was a quantity surveyor, but he spent most of his actual work life supervising constructions - bridges, roads, a power station, civic buildings, an army encampment… He was justly proud of these achievements.

He was a warrior. During the Second World War he was a bomber pilot and did two tours of operations over Germany, which was exceedingly dangerous. Not many survived. In consequence he ended the war with a heap of medals. A hero. A man of masculine virtues and hidden grief.

He was a handsome man and could be charming, but was also rather solitary by nature. In his spare time he became a skilled carpenter and made many pieces of furniture. He enjoyed the solitude of his workshop and the garden, and was more at ease with plants and timber than with people.

He taught me to play tennis and to play chess. He gave me a philosophy of “grasping the nettle” and being bold. He was a man of action rather than philosophy, had no tight ideological affiliation and had voted for all the major political parties on different occasions.

I draw from him a sense of strength and practicality, that it is as important to know how to lose gracefully as to give everything one has got to a task. “Faint heart never won fair lady,” but “Don’t fight battles you can’t win.”

He was my second great teacher, after my mother. In childhood, I admired him. In adolescence and young adulthood, I fought him. In later years, I respected him. Nowadays I often hear his voice and have repartee with him in my head. Sometimes the words that issue from my mouth are his, and when I notice this I smile.

Last updated by David Brazier Nov 28, 2017.

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Blog Posts

Running a Course in Korea and Elsewhere

Posted by David Brazier on August 3, 2018 at 1:40 2 Comments

I am currently leading courses on Buddhist psychology here in Seoul, Korea, but as I am putting the course onto this site as we go along, members of La Ville au Roi (Eleusis) are also responding so it is a bit as though the course is going on in several countries at the same time which is nice.

Varlam Shalamov

Posted by Geeta Chari on July 16, 2018 at 0:00 1 Comment

From The Paris Review:

For fifteen years the writer Varlam Shalamov was imprisoned in the Gulag for participating in “counter-revolutionary Trotskyist activities.” He endured six of those years enslaved in the gold mines of Kolyma, one of the coldest and most hostile places on earth. While he was awaiting sentencing, one of his short stories was…

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The Buddha, Season 1, Episode 1

Posted by Geeta Chari on June 29, 2018 at 9:21 1 Comment

I have been watching The Buddha on Netflix, and although I came well-prepared to scoff, there is a surprising amount of food for thought from a Pureland perspective. What follows is a review of the Pureland touches in the episode, coloured inevitably by my upbringing in India, although I have now lived in Britain for more than half my life.

The scene opens in the republic of Kapilavastu, depicted as a green and pleasant land, with the Himalayan mountains as a backdrop. (I was…

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Nembutsu Question

Posted by Dayamay Dunsby on April 20, 2018 at 8:22 1 Comment

I found this in a book that I'm reading. It has challenged my current "understanding" of the Nembutsu. I tend to think of the name itself as salvation and the bridge to the Pure Land...

"...Nembutsu is not a means to gain salvation but a reflection of it. Shinran acknowledges there is nembutsu without true entrusting because he lived in an environment where nembutsu was recited for benefits and merit. By itself it cannot produce true entrusting. Nevertheless, they are inseparable as…

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