One hundred years ago this autumn the world was catapulted into a new era. The Russian revolutionaries were inspired by Marx, who claimed “we make our own history, but not as we please: we make it under circumstances existing already given.”
Like Marx, Sangharakshita also saw in history a conflict at work, but for Sangharakshita the essential challenge was not a material conflict between the ‘means and modes of production’, but rather the non-violent battle between the group and the spiritual community. He defined the spiritual community as being based, unlike the group, not on power but metta – loving-kindness. He saw such a community as the essential means to transform both ourselves and our world, through awareness, wisdom and love. This is the mission of the London Buddhist Centre.
The circumstances we find ourselves in today can sometimes seem more challenging than ever. We need a vision of existence big enough to encompass the vast potential of human consciousness, and we also need to bring that vision into the particularities of our everyday life and moment-to-moment experience.
In this latest issue of The London Buddhist we meet Buddhists facing the challenge of fully living out this vision of metta in the midst of our own particular circumstances.
Jyotismati reimagines motherhood in light of the ideals of Buddhism; how can we best bring up our children to face the shocks of the modern world? Matthew Daniel brings a touch of dark humour to the day-to-day practice of meditation, while a new poem from Vishvantara evokes the atmosphere of communal life. Amalavajra asks how on earth do we turn money – that great capitalist demon of abstract happiness – into metta? Kusalasara’s paintings teach us how to appreciate the ordinary; beauty is always there if the heart is open – even in a simple night bus. While Tim Exile takes us on an inner journey through a silent meditation retreat and the rag and bone shop of the heart.
Living a life based on metta in the midst of all the pressures of daily living is a huge challenge. From family to money to moods, we need all the help we can get. We hope that the latest programme of events will help you face the challenges of your life with more love. That’s what the world really needs. Viva la revolution!