The meeting was well attended and was privileged to have as guest speakers, Steven Burgess and Adrian Worsfold. Both speakers are involved in Buddhism from different standpoints.
Adrian had prepared a leaflet, Buddhism and the West, in which he outlines his pessimistic view of the future for the Judaeo/ Christian tradition, considering it intellectually bankrupt. He is involved with the Friends of Western Buddhism Order, in which there is no necessity to believe in reincarnation. This was a surprise to some as it is widely believed that reincarnation was as much a keystone to Buddhism as, say, the Divinity of Christ is to mainstream Christians.
Steven Burgess explained that he held the traditional belief in reincarnation, that it was the only 'logical' view and that he felt repelled by other dogma identified with some Orders.
The major tenets of Buddhism are abstention from craving for materialism and a keen awareness of the value of all life. On a personal level, the benefits of the ‘path to enlightenment’ would appear to include a purification of the soul, as it were, leading to a greater self-confidence and ‘self-awareness’.
Buddhists do not believe in Creation and therefore not in a creator God but rather in the continuity or the cycle of life. This might square with the Steady State scientific theory to some present but it was generally felt that the concept of reincarnation was beyond the pale.
The consensus was that the evening was particularly informative - or should one say enlightening!?
Pluralist - Liberal and Thoughtful