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Fresh Bread, Ancient Recipes – Lions Roar

In the opening commentary to the Spring 2023 difficulty of Buddhadharma, Barry Boyce shares why Nalanda’s spirit of open inquiry is simply what’s wanted to maintain Buddhism alive and vibrant in every technology.

Around the time I used to be sixteen, I began exploring plenty of completely different philosophical programs and practices: Samkhya, Advaita Vedanta, Kriya, Hatha, and Bhakti yoga, Sufism, Jainism, Chris- tian mysticism, Kabbalah, you identify it. Prior to that point, any exploration of actuality or fact had come within the type of indoctri- nation. I used to be informed what to consider.


When I lastly landed on Buddhism, subsequently, I used to be involved I’d be required to grow to be a doctrinal true believer (and
I’ve certainly grow to be that at varied factors in my so-known as Buddhist profession, inflicting me to ultimately attain for the air sick- ness bag every time). Early on, although, I had the nice fortune to listen to concerning the magnificent Nalanda University—purportedly the oldest establishment of upper studying on Earth, an enormous complicated in historic India, drawing college students from far and extensive. It was a monastic establishment, one of many nice Mahaviharas, like its much less well-known however maybe no much less illustrious sisters, Vikramasila and Odantapuri. The spirit of Nalanda, as I used to be taught, was to ask in no matter programs of thought and religious follow had been overseas on the time. If what Buddhism has to supply was of nice worth, it might stand as much as the take a look at of publicity and alternate with different methods of considering and training, and in reality, would possibly even be innovated because of the interplay. (Still equally true at present.) It’s simple to think about that a lot of the good studying and follow that got here out of Nalanda resulted from energetic again-and-forths reasonably than pedantry.

I discovered this prospect so inviting on this planet I used to be seeing then and see now—one the place people, communities, religions, and nations battle to ascertain who’s the neatest one within the room. Truth can’t merely be enforced by authority, coercion, or diktat. It should stand by itself two toes. It has to outlive within the public sq., and be borne out in expertise and leavened by engagement with others on this planet, who carry various views to the alternate.

Nalanda was not about establishing the primacy of Buddhism because the one true religion, however—as Jan Westerhoff makes clear in his opening essay—to find what works and what’s helpful by fostering a contemplative ambiance that mixes religious follow; conscious consideration to the rituals of every day life; research; and debate.

If this exercise goes by the identify philosophy, it’s philosophy within the authentic which means of that time period: love of knowledge. As Francesca Fremantle writes in Luminous Emptiness, “Buddhist philosophy is always practical and relates directly to experience, so it often seems to be more a spiritual psychology than a philosophy.” Her instructor, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, spoke of finding out the dharma as being like pouring water right into a sieve. While you have interaction with it, it may well information you, but it surely doesn’t offer you a doctrinal remaining reply that can fill your cup for good so you possibly can carry it round as your prized possession.

He additionally spoke of the dharma as tasty recent baked bread. The recipes for this bread stretch again into the mists of time, and a few of them had been cooked up at Nalanda. We observe these recipes to at the present time and proceed to benefit from the freshness and nourishment of the bread because it takes new kinds and shapes. All of the academics and students on this difficulty embody this spirit of bring- ing forth new child perception from our historic inheritance. They convey not merely content material, however an angle of a humble merging of research and follow and software on this planet of struggling beings. That’s the spirit of Nalanda we have a good time right here.


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