Being buddha, becoming better: buddhism and psychotherapy. Cambridge, 2010

The meaning of the Tibetan word for ‘Buddha’, Sangye (Sangs-rGyas).
James Low

Talk given for the Cambridge Buddhist Society, UK.
11 March 2010

Download the Transcript of the Talk

Transcribed by Jo Féat
Edited by Barbara Terris and James Low

Excerpts from the Talk

Example: how something forms on the basis of something else.

…The end of therapy is marked by the patient, having been freed from the transference, now seeing the therapist as an ordinary person. That dream is over. However, that doesn’t stop the dreaming. Dreams go on. You end the dream of analysis and you might pick up the dream of ‘buddhism’. Dream follows dream, each one appearing to be real and true……
When we don’t have an agenda, we drop pre-occupation and foreclosure. If there is no self reference, no turn towards one’s own position, then the tenderness of gaze that one has can be brought to each specific situation. You find yourself fitting in situation after situation with a very exquisite precision. You experience the freshness of engaging with the context, yet without having to know how this happens.  This brings a trust in our freedom to become which further opens us to our ease of being. The continuity of presence is not resting on any particular pattern of content.
In the Tibetan language this experience is called lhundrup and to me, lhundrup is a lovely word. Lhun means a mound and drup means to make, and it indicates that the field of experience presents itself fully formed in all its aspects moment by moment by moment like a magic mountain. The ground that it arises from is a ground without any edge, centre or circumference, so there is nothing for things to form around.
Our usual experience is not, however, like that since it develops on the basis of something already there. Perhaps in your science classes at school you grew copper sulphate crystals? You start by making a strong solution of copper sulphate, and then you hang a little thread in it and gradually you see crystals forming around the string. A similar example is the candy-floss which you can buy at a fairground. There is a big revolving drum of spun sugar. The stall-holder takes a stick, puts it in the drum, and the spun sugar winds around it, and then you get your delicious treat. These are both examples of something forming on the basis of something else…


    The meaning of the Tibetan word for Buddha, Sang-gye 1
    The hinayana view 2
    The mahayana view 5
    The tantra view 5
    The dzogchen view 7
    More on Sangs-rGye, Buddha 8
    A magic mountain, sulphate crystals and candyfloss 9
    Taking people seriously is the worst insult 10
    Observe yourself and see how you cheat yourself 10
    Where we are determines what we see 12
    The energetic quality of the emotions 13
    An ontological enquiry 14
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