Everyone wants a better world. Many of us try to make that happen – some attempts are successful, others make it worse. But what would a better world look like and how would we behave in it?
Perhaps there are even more preliminary areas to explore, though, prior to trying to answer these questions. What do we even mean by ‘the world’? And can we ever know it? It could be that our world is where we look for meaning. Maitreyabandhu demonstrates this, in the latest issue of our magazine, through the thoughts and poetry of Robert Frost. Perhaps what we call the world is simply a reflection of our own egotism, our moods and elations? Probing a little deeper, he steers us between the belief in an everlasting God (meaning from outside us) and the belief in an enduring self (an ultimate meaning within) and points to a certain ‘something’ that is much more mysterious.
This ‘something’ is at play in Gus Miller’s mind, too, as he imagines the creation of a Buddhist theatre company. When certain conditions for creativity are present, he says, the ‘world’ is a flash of the collective imagination.
Vandanajyoti went solo into another world entirely when she travelled to Delhi to study Indian music in the 1980s. Through discipline, commitment and a total immersion in it, she began to understand that other world, only to realise it could never be her own.
Well, Kusalasara’s world is definitely her own, as we discover through her diary of a year. But as the seasons change and her experience does too, ‘self’ and ‘world’ seem less like two different things.
The stupa at the new Vajrasana, in the photo spread, points to another sort of world altogether. The stupa is a traditional Buddhist monument in which ashes of the deceased are interred. It is therefore a symbol of transformation and of change – ultimately transcending both a fixed self and a permanent world. What, then, are we left with? Not nothing, not even a specific ‘something’, but a mystery we are not yet ready to know.
Buddhism and meditation do give us tools, though, to enter this mystery. In fact, this is the purpose of all the events that run at the London Buddhist Centre and at Vajrasana. I do hope that your imagination is caught by some of the events in this autumn’s programme, leading you into new worlds that are waiting to be explored.