Join the Dharma-Techno Festival in France. 21-25 August 2024. A cool event!

Since 2015, Dharma Nature has organised 14 silent retreats, in which a DJ or electronic music producer participating in the retreat mixes a techno set.

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Twenty One Aphorisms on Love. To meditate on. So we do not deceive ourselves

Metta, A Pali word (language of the Buddha) means a profound depth of love/loving kindness/friendship, often depending on context.

He used the strongest possible language for those citizens in India of deep religious faith. In its deepest sense, he said metta ranks as a ‘Brahma Vihara’ – literally Abiding with God.

To the non-religious, he stated Metta is Immeasurable -has no limits, needs no measurement. In the same way, reality has no limits, no measurement in the expanse of things.

1.    “I love you so much and I need you so much” obscures love. Such neediness come from lack of love.

2.   Compassion confirms love with the purpose to reduce or dissolve suffering.

3.   Daily meditations/reflections on love and its expressions in daily life develop knowing the value of love.

4.   Dedication to what is beautiful and significant reveals an act of love transcending dynamics of praise and blame.

5.   Desires might get what you want but that does not mean you can give love to who or what you want.

6.   Experiences of authentic reality uncovers an extraordinary freedom from deceptions triggering wonder. There is love for profound experiences to enlighten our life and life of others.

7.    Know the support for love, which includes consciousness, interest, patience and a deep resolution to move through the storms of life, inner and outer.

8.   Love abandons domination of self-interest preferring to weather insecurity, instead of indulging in possessive behaviour.

9.   Love affirms life without the desire to get what we can from it.

10.                    Love bears little or no relationship to intense emotions.

11.                     Love confirms a sharing or giving towards the other while desire wants the other to come to oneself.

12.                    Love confirms that that we matter no more, no less, nor the same, as the other.

13.                    Love has the power to reveal truths, never seen nor known before.

14.                    Love moves beyond the contracted self to support the movement of love

15.                    Love reveals as an activity, not as a personal claim.

16.                    Love supports who or what is loved. It is indispensable for a wise and sustainable co-existence

17.                     Love triggers aliveness bringing us closer to the nature of things, inwardly and outwardly.

18.                    Poetry provides a legitimate resource to see into reality and expand our view.

19.                    Love includes an expansion of views contracted through projections. Love explores an infinite numbers of ways to confirm love.

20.                  Romantic love does not require presence of another but experiences of sensuality in the waking up of the senses.

21.                    Self-forgetfulness does not dissolve through self-love, self-compassion or self-help but reveals in a transcendent priority unbound to self.

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A Message of Appreciation to the Sangha, family members and friends My 80th birthday occurred on 22 April (Earth Day) 2024.

Last year, Nshorna (my daughter) said to me I need to be in Totnes (Devon, England) on Sunday 21-22 April. I agreed.

She then began to organise a secret birthday event and make the primary preparations. Martin Aylward (a beloved friend and Dharma teacher based in France) gave support to the organisation of the gathering. They contacted friends worldwide, who had attended my retreats, pilgrimages, courses, trainings and more It was quite an undertaking.

Photo taken at home noting 80 years in this phenomenal existence.

I did not know the location, nor time until my arrival in the upstairs hall of the restaurant/hotel a few minutes walk from home on Sunday afternoon of 21 April.  More than 50 were waiting for me. Some people I had not seen for decades were in the hall, plus photos on screen or short clips.

It raises the eyebrows to see the aging process with us all. We cannot hold onto a single day but we can find a freedom to move with the rhythms and changes of life.

The four grandchildren, Kye, 23, D’nae, 17, Milan, 15, and Joziah 8. were all there.

There was a big screen with hundreds of  rotating photos, taken of this wallah with others over decades – sent in by people.

Then the screen showed more than 70 one minute worldwide appreciations filmed on mobile phones, lots of presents, cards, books to read and literally hundreds of emails, texts etc. With vegan food, (some vegetarian) and a big birthday cake.

How did so many hear about the birthday?

Martin gave me a birthday card, which included the amount of dana sent to my account during this week. The sum took my breath away. I’m sure my blood pressure went up. It was worth it!

I spoke to friends in the hall, introduced all four grandchildren, saw a video message from my Judy (my sister) and her three children, Paul, Mark and Cathryn in Australia. Rhiannon (Nshorna’s half sister) also joined us.

I spoke for a few minutes to the group to thank everybody. I mentioned that  Rahula (the Buddha’s son), probably organised a similar secret event for the Buddha’s 80th birthday. People travelled from all over India to be with him in Kushinagara in northern India. Rahula had to tell the Sangha on their arrival that Gotama had just died some hours earlier on his birthday. A few unenlightened ones were probably irritated having walked a hell of a long way. Why couldn’t he choose to die a day later?” one might have asked.

I added that Nshorna brought my birthday event forward a day earlier, as she and the grandkids probably agreed I was looking older. Just in case….

I said to D’nae it is “quite tiring to be the centre of attention for a few hours. I’m glad it only happens once every 10 years.”

I enjoyed every minute with everybody and the magnificent metta (loving kindness/friendship/love) shared everywhere. My eyes were  often wet with soft tears.

I taught my first retreat in Dharamsala, India  in 1974. It has been an ongoing privilege to be a servant of the Dharma for 50 years and experience 80 years  on this Earth, including such a joyous day with the Sangha, via people’s presence and benefits of technology.

On Thursday, 25 April, I start the journey to the Waldhaus Zentrum to teach the annual retreat for a week starting on Friday.

A huge thank you for all your countless kindnesses.

Lots of love



A Message of Appreciation to the Sangha, family members and friends My 80th birthday occurred on 22 April (Earth Day) 2024. Read More »

Ten Points to Remember for Daily Mindfulness. Plus bare info on our next online 12 month Mindfulness Teacher Training Course in summer of 2025

Currently, Nshorna (my daughter) and I teach the 12-month primarily online Mindfulness Teacher Training Course (MTTC).

A new day in Totnes, Devon, England. View from my loft window

We finished the first six-month module earlier this month (April 2024) and have started the second module finishing in October 2024. Ten of our participants attended the first module for a training in mindfulness for their personal benefit.

I am sending to these participants 10 pointers to reflect and apply in daily life. Mindfulness offers a range of practical tools to develop calmness and clarity in daily life.

Ten Points for Daily Life

1.       Mindfulness matter equally in the four major postures – sitting, walking, standing and reclining. This includes sitting on the bus to work, walking along the high street, standing while waiting for a friend and reclining before sleep at night.

2.      Eat food close to its origins and primarily drink water. Eat modest portions of processed food – rice, spaghetti etc. Eat and drink minimal highly processed food (food soaked in sugar, salt, fats, additives) that harms health in short and long term.

3.      Experience the joys of life that arise naturally and effortlessly, rather than an outcome of personal desires.

4.      Increase weekly your time outdoors for wellbeing, especially garden, parks, woods, countryside and more.

5.      Engage in mindful speech – free from negativity, gossip, backbiting, second-hand information, misleading and prejudice. Show kindness, love and understanding in the written and spoken word.

6.      Remember to en-joy moments, to laugh, to learn, to share and find renewal through the arts. Be receptive to the spiritual in life.

7.      A noble way of life includes service to people, creatures and the environment and renewal through meditation, silence and outdoors.

8.     Engage in friendships, groups, courses and retreats to learn from others and they to learn from you.

9.      Remember in tough times that “This too will pass.” – just as other previous challenges have passed.

10.  Know a freedom not depending on anything, anywhere.

Incidentally, Nshorna and I plan to start the next MTTC, probably in the summer of 2025. The course includes the two of us as senior teachers, Jude (our co-ordinator) and five assistant teachers.

We have a list of 37 names so far of people, who have expressed an interest to join the next MTTC when we start taking registrations in October of 2024. Many wish to start a new direction in their life.

If you wish to consider attending the first module, or both modules for the next teacher training, please email us at: The teacher training provides a MTTC certificate and CPD certificate (professional certificate recognised worldwide).

See for information about the MTTC.

May all beings see purpose in challenges
May all being cooperate together
May all beings know a fulfilled life.

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Sam Harris states German Nazis are “comparatively benign” compared to Hamas.

A trauma probably feeds his intensity of views to his one million followers

Samuel Harris, 57 is an American neuroscientist, author, and podcast host. His work touches on the rational mind, neuroscience, meditation, Islam/Jihadis, and artificial intelligence. He has attended Buddhist retreats, spent time in India, explored Advaita (Non-Duality). His latest book is called Waking Up. Sub title: Searching for spirituality without religion. Sam has attended insight meditation (vipassana) retreats since the 1990s. Senior Buddhist teacher, Joseph Goldstein, co-founder of Insight Meditation Society (IMS), Barre, Massachusetts, USA, is one of his primary teachers.

Last year, Sam Harris kindly invited me to have a dialogue with him on his podcast. He has a million subscribers. People take an interest in his views. Prior to the meeting, he kindly gave me as a gift a top of the range voice recorder and microphone for our online dialogue between Totnes and USA.

After the meeting, Sam invited me to record some short guided meditations on themes of non-duality for his listeners. I submitted them but they did not fit with what he had mind. He gave me  a donation (dana) of $3000.00 for my efforts – a generous and supportive gift.

Lady Gaga describes impact of trauma

Last month, I watched on YouTube Lady Gaga speaking to US chat show host, Stephen Alpert, on the eve of the launch five years ago of A Star is Born, a film (movie), which she had the central role.

At the end of the interview, she spoke briefly about her experience as a sexual assault survivor. I edited her words on the impact of a trauma on a person.

Sam Harris has said numerous times over the years that 9/11 had a big impact on him. I believe this horrendous event traumatised him. In Sam’s case, 9/11, seems to trigger a rage directed against Hamas, Jihadis, Muslims and Palestinians, as the closed box opens inside  of himself. It looks like it happened again last week, and other times since the massacre by Hamas upon Israeli citizens on 7 October.

Scene shows the aftermath of the Hamas massacre of 364 Israelis attending the Supernova Festival and 40 others were taken hostage.

This is what Lady Gaga said

“If someone is assaulted, or experiences trauma, there is science and scientific proof. It’s biology that people change. The brain changes and literally, what it does is it takes the trauma and it puts it in a box and it files it away and shuts it so that we can survive the pain.

It can cause complete avoidance of what to even remember, think about what happened to you.

Lady Gaga then referred to a specific example in the news in 2019.

She continues: I believe that I have seen is that when this woman saw on a television a man to be possibly put in the highest position of power in the judicial system of this country, she was triggered and that box opened ….

It seems to me this what happens to Sam – a situation like 7 October triggers the repressed trauma from 9/11.

Lady Gaga specifies one of the ways trauma manifests. Yes, some people, like Sam, can get on with their life until the trigger that exposes the trauma.

Others experience trauma as an ongoing daily impact and in other ways.

When a trauma erupts, it can generate a blind spot to the traumas of all those condemned, such as much of the population of the people of Gaza, the West Bank, Israel and elsewhere. His mind does not understand the deep concerns of much of the world applying their humane and rational views to events in Gaza. Here are a few expressions of those deep concerns

·        Via the UN, 153 countries have appealed to the Israeli government to announce a ceasefire.

·        UN leaders have put out numerous appeals to Israel on behalf of member states to end the wilful destruction of Gaza.

·        USA, the primary defender of Israel and arms providers to the IDF, have finally called for an immediate ceasefire to protect Palestinian civilians.

·        South Africa has taken Israel to the International Criminal Court for allegations of genocide in Gaza.

·        Men, women and children in Gaza die daily while buried under the rubble, from their wounds, die from starvation, lack of medical supplies and denial of basic needs due to Israel’s blockage of aid supplies or allowing only a trickle to enter Gaza through the use of red tape.

·        IDF has engaged in wilful destruction of hospitals, clinics, schools, mosques, offices for international aid and kill medical staff, teachers, social workers, aid workers and journalists…..

·        Eye witness reports of acts of cruelty and terror by IDF soldiers on Palestinians, men, women and children.

Sam Harris refers briefly to the fate Gaza and its children. The immense degree of international pressure on Israel has brought about a small degree of restraint in Israel on the war on Gaza and elsewhere.

IDF has killed around 13,800 children since the war on Gaza started

“This is Sam Harris.”

This is the start of his podcast Making Sense with Sam Harris on 9 April 2024. I have made tiny tweaks for readability.

Well, it’s been six months since October the seventh 2023 and a blizzard of moral confusion about the atrocities committed on that day, and about Israel’s response to them remains something to behold.

The IDF accidentally killed some of the staff working for the chef, Jose Andrea’s aid organisation, World Central Kitchen. This is obviously a tragic accident, and yet much of the world has responded as though it weren’t an accident. That is somehow plausible that the IDF is intentionally murdering aid workers.

The fact that so many people have responded in this way tells you everything you need to know about the status of Israel and the level of moral intelligence out there.

Some people have asked me if the ongoing carnage in Gaza and in particular this killing of aid workers has changed my view of the war. The short answer is No which might be surprising to some of you.

I’ll make a few very condensed points here, which might help explain why I think Israel has absolutely to win this war. Any call for a ceasefire, especially one that doesn’t first demand, the return of the hostages, is not only absurd, but obscene.

Now, generally, I’m very hawkish on the topic of jihadism. I have been ever since September 11 2001.

Please believe me when I say that I wish I never had to touch this topic ever again. It is vile and confusion about it, especially on the part of secular liberals is also vile.

Nothing reduces my faith in humanity more than routinely confronting educated people who have no capacity to discern the moral hierarchy here but difference is so stark and so simple.

There are people who use their own children as human shields or worse as bombed. Or the people who kill their own daughters for the crime of getting raped because they have stayed in the families either.

As is the question of why so many Palestinians have come to support (Hamas), it would be like asking in 1941, why the SS became so radicalised and why do so many millions of Germans support it? I feel exactly the same way about jihad.

Jihad is worse than the Nazis in my view. They don’t have the same power than theirs is heading in the 30s and 40s, which is very good thing and we should keep it that way. But their ideology is actually worse.

Jihadism is essentially Nazism, plus religious fanaticism, plus an eagerness to be martyred and to see their children martyred.

There are many differences between Nazism and jihadism, of course, but they only make the Nazis look comparatively benign.

I have made clear many times before my support for Israel in this conflict is not born of my identity as a Jew, not born of my attachment to the religion of Judaism, of which I have none.

My support for Israel… is born of a spiritual connection to civilization to the norms of open societies to individual rights and freedom of thought, and to secularism and rationality and basic decency that is defined everything that jihadist seek to destroy.

As for the loss of civilian life in Gaza is absolutely horrific as I said before.  That makes sense when you’re watching the bodies of dead children pulled from rubble.

As terrible as the destruction of Gaza is, Hamas is ultimately culpable for what has happened there since October 7.

There was a ceasefire on October 6. IDF has done a better job in waging this war ethically than we (USA) have done

Israel really must destroy Hamas, I haven’t known  how they should go about doing that. Surely the strategy of bombing and occupying Gaza can be debated.

But after October 7th, what can’t be debated is whether Israel is justified in doing what it needs to do to destroy Hamas…

What it needs to do to destroy Hamas, and it does seem quite plausible that some significant invasion and destruction and occupation of Gaza was the only way to do that.

Section of my podcast conversation with  Sam Harris with little signal of trauma when we spoke in 2023 – (00:36:43):


After speaking of his love for his time in India, he said: “ This also could be a remnant of how I came to the conversation in the first place. I came to talk about these things publicly first in the immediate aftermath of September 11th, when we had people flying planes into our buildings thinking they’re going to get to paradise. We had fundamentalists to speak specifically of the American experience. We had fundamentalist religious Christians calling for a holy war against Islam. We have delusional people saying that Islam is a purely a religion of peace that’s been hijacked by extremist and there are no religious or spiritual concerns wrapped up in what Al-Qaeda was doing.

So there’s just an immensity of confusion around people’s existential concerns and beliefs. So I wandered into that morass with at least two very strong convictions. One is, there is a reality to recognize through meditation and other contemplative methods, and that part is true, and yet, there’s no reason why humanity needs to be divided from itself on the basis of religious dogmatism. We have a common project, so.


I mentioned to you of having the benefit of my experiences through the Catholic upbringing with all the limitations…I travelled through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Sumatra and Java (in Indonesia) – all Muslim countries, plus six years as a Buddhist monk.  I spent more than seven years in India and made annual visits to Palestine and Israel for nearly 30 years (1992-2020) . I have experience of Muslim and Jewish communities, a reasonably wide range of international experience. I teach people of all faiths, no faiths, secular and scientific. Years of experience have  a significant influence (of my views).

There are the varieties of extremism and idealism in  religion there, but there are much more as well.

I am not a Buddhist…I think there is a healthy dialogue to be made between the religious, secular and spiritual. That’s the way forward in the 21st century. What’s your response?

Sam Harris

Well, I think most of what people are getting from religion are right to want to get from religion, which is to say the right to value, the good stuff. Community can be gotten without religion. Right? I would be the first to admit that we don’t have great secular alternatives for every aspect of community….

Final Response

I believe Sam has much to offer but his compulsive desire to promote his rage on podcast towards Hamas, Islam and Palestinians blocks the capacity to see outside his probable trauma.

In my view, his decades of Buddhist meditation practices and non-dual practices have not addressed this unresolved issue within, though he surely benefitted in other areas, as his recent book shows.

Teachings of Non-duality (Advaita) includes absence of identification with claims to ‘civilization’ of the West/Israel as one extreme and absence of hate of Hamas as the other extreme in dualistic thinking, so often prevalent in trauma.

I believe it is time for Sam to look into secular therapies to develop a humane and civilised view rather than explore Buddhism/spiritual teachings.

A humane and civilised life shows itself in the dedication to resolve suffering through wise means – regardless of secular, spiritual or religious beliefs.

I am sending this post onto Sam.

May all beings understand dynamics of the mind
May all beings live with clarity
May all beings speak and act with wisdom.

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