During this talk, Peter provides a brief speculative review of Siddhartha Gautama’s life experience, before he became known as the Buddha. The intention here is to consider the sociocultural stresses of his time in comparison to the stresses of contemporary life. He lived in what were the most comfortable and hedonistic circumstances of the day, which pale in comparison to what conditions our self-identities and expectations currently. Despite all the lifestyle securities and comforts, he decided to dedicate his life to spiritual development rather than self-indulgence. How might this apply to our current life circumstances and motivations for spiritual development? This is followed by Peter’s description of what motivated his interest in Buddhist meditation when he began practicing and what continues to motivate him currently. Others present also contributed their motivations for meditating.
The topic for next week’s talk will be an overview of the Four Noble Truths, the core teaching within all the various Buddhist traditions. This will be an introduction to an extended exploration reviewing each of the Four Noble Truths over a series of talks throughout the year.