I speak on Saturday 10 June 2023 at 9 am on West Coast of USA) and 17.00 in the UK AND 18.00 in the EU. Hosted by Awakin Calls. Free. Open to All.
I received an invitation from Awakin Calls to respond to questions from the host for 90 minutes on my life story. I hesitated.
Nshorna, my daughter, says I resist any kind of fuss or undue attention around myself. She is right.
Recorded Talks, Memoir and Documentary
Am not keen on false modesty. I am not shy of talking about myself. Upstairs at home in the loft in cardboard boxes, I store around 3000 Dharma talks in cassette form and 2000 more talks on hard drives with plenty of stories about myself – childhood, travel, life as a monk, love life, parenting, family, diet, politics, Totnes, health, ageing process and more with regular doses of eccentric humour.
People tell me they only come to my retreats for the humour and the delicious food the staff in the centre provide. Retreatants are willing to endure everything else. That’s impressive.
During Covid lockdown, I wrote a 520-page memoir, Ten Years and Ten Days (published by Amazon), an account of my time in the East (1967-1977). Every page had the language of ‘I’ and ‘my’ running through the text. I did not miss the irony of it, as a teacher of the emptiness of ‘I’ and ‘my.’
In 2011, A German documentary film company, Zinnober Films, filmed more than 100 hours of my travels in four continents for a 60-minute television documentary called The Buddha Wallah. Wallah means worker in Hindi, such as chai wallah and dhobi wallah (clothes washer). Dieter Zeppenfeld, the director and long time Dharma practitioner, agreed to ensure the documentary would include significant aspects of the teachings. He kept to our agreement.
Neither Public Life, nor Private Life
A story, spoken or written, has the potential to convey a teaching, a practice and way of life. The self serves as a tool to communicate a range of experiences in meditation and daily life, perhaps to inspire us to engage in the exploration and depths of the human experience.
Professionals in the world of authority, therapists, doctors, mind-body healers, spiritual teachers, school teachers, politicians, gurus rarely make any reference to their personal lives in public utterances with their clients, patients, students or followers.
A Dharma teacher does not belong in the duality of professional or amateur, public life and private life. The Dharma endorses wise friendship/sharing of experiences and recognition of a common humanity. In the area of self and other, it is not about finding a balance. Not at all. It is knowing the priority, namely the other.
The Sangha of practitioners develop friendships, teachers and participants alike. We meet in the coffee shops, homes, on the street and in demonstrations.
An Invitation to Speak About my ‘self.’
The team running www.awakin.org invited me to be their guest on at 9 am California and 17.00 in the UK with a member of the team interviewing the guest.
Awakin Calls website says the Calls offer a weekly series of deep, sacred conversations highlighting the inner journeys of individuals who are transforming our world in large and small ways.
Title of my session is Adventures of the Spirit: Living an Engaged Life. Awaken provide on their website a bio, which one of the team wrote from information gleaned off the web, plus a quote before the bio. Here is the quote:
We must remember we are exhaustible. We need renewal. Silence, quietude, time alone, naturally gives that. Then we can come back in to serve others in small ways. That we do. Then we take time for renewal. Jesus, the Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi and all the great sages recognize the importance of connection with others to serve, then step back from that into quietness, then renewal, and then serve. This is the great rhythm of life.
The interview gives priority to the life of the interviewee rather than focus on their contribution to the world. I hesitated due to a sense of a misplaced sense of priority.
Like many others, I place service before self, teachings before teacher. I am not a master of the Dharma but a servant of the Dharma, a Buddha wallah.
Awaken team have spoken more than 500 people over the past decade or two. Guests have ranged from public changemakers. These include Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, innovative philanthropists, transformational business leaders, Nobel prize recipients, and cultural change filmmakers and musicians.
In Sunday 5 Jun, I talked with Stephanie Nash of Awakin, who will conduct the interview. Stephanie, a mindfulness teacher, lives in Santa Monica, California. She kindly assured me that I would have the opportunity to make references to practices, daily life and engagement with the world.
Here are two links for those who wish to join
Awakin Calls is an initiative of ServiceSpace, a global, all-volunteer community dedicated to small acts of great love. Their webinar and podcast series highlights the outer work and inner journeys of individuals who are transforming our world in large and small ways with the principle of “change yourself, change the world”.
Our guests have ranged from public changemakers — including Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, innovative philanthropists, transformational business leaders, Nobel prize recipients, and cultural change filmmakers and musicians — to private citizens engaging directly within their own communities.Who is behind this?
Awakin Calls is an initiative of ServiceSpace — a distributed and diverse community of volunteers who share the collective value and vision of heart-centered service.
We aim to keep the conversation intimate and also encourage post-call interactions.
How can I participate as a listener?
To join an upcoming live event as a listener, find one that interests you, RSVP, and you will receive by email the details to connect.
MAY ALL BEINGS KNOW A WISE PERSPECTIVE ON self
MAY ALL BEINGS OFFER SERVICE
MAY ALL BEINGS INTEGRATE INNER AND OUTER