FOR THE EIGHTH WEEK, the topic is Chapter Eight: A World of Metaphor: Continuity, Death and Ethics, from Sue Hamilton-Blyth’s I of the Beholder. In Week 7 we examined The Limits of Experience.  Buddha would suggest that the recognition of limit of experience sets us free. We have a deeper freedom once we realize the limits of perception and language.  What I will emphasize this week is that the metaphoric nature of language (and our appropriate language practice – with yonisomanasikara – makes us better able to work with the freedom we access at the limit of experience.

“Freedom of choice of action is what makes it possible for the Buddha to state that one is able to improve and change one’s experience. His teachings advocate coming to terms with wherever one is, understanding the history of all of the factors involved in that situation, and accepting that any improvement is entirely in one’s own hands.”- from Chapter 8 of Sue Hamilton-Blyth’s Early Buddhism: A New Approach (Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism) (p. 215).

Future weeks’ topics:
The ninth and closing session (23 October) will be focussed on the book’s postscript: On What is a human being?

As always, in my courses, bodily-felt experience is the touchstone. I will invite participants to consult their bodily-felt meaning of the Buddhist concepts, and to experience the vision in terms of a ‘process orientation.’ If you have some ‘Focusing’ experience, this course is made for you. If not, you will learn, as we proceed, to use your body’s ‘felt sense’ for insight.

Reference: Sue Hamilton-Blyth, Early Buddhism – A New Approach: the I of the Beholder. (2000) Curzon.

Christopher Ash, 30 September 2022.