natural awareness

relaxed presence, unfabricated,
flowing, just as it is

Practice group dynamics and structures


Four levels of structural dynamics in groups


Internal and external supports for structure and freedom


Organizational issues for practice groups


Guidance on finding a Buddhist teacher




We can adopt structures intentionally to avoid being ruled by unintentional structures--and itís also good to remember that even structures adopted intentionally can (will) eventually become unconscious, or be taken over by other dynamics. A quote from Stephen Batchelor is relevant here, reminding us to remain open to our questions, and not let "answers" become predictable and routine:

"The way of the Buddha is a living response to a living question. Yet whenever it has become institutionalized its vital response has become a well-formulated answer. The seemingly important task of preserving a particular set of answers often causes the very questions which gave rise to those answers to be forgotten. Then the lucid answers Buddhism provides are cut off from the stammering voice that asks the questions.

The question we ask can only be clumsily phrased in words, for our very existence declares itself to us as a question. Birth, sickness, aging, and death are mute, imperative voices of this question that beckons us along a path. To be vital, this path can never stray from the ground of its question, it can never rest content with any answer. The path leads not to a coherent answer but to a series of responses as inarticulate as the question.

Once we find something to believe in, it is easy to forget the original question. But instead of acquiescing in the security of belief, we can intensify the sense of doubt. Belief, whether in a teacher, a doctrine, or even oneís own experience, retreats from the questions behind a shield of protective views and concepts. But the person who questions lies open and exposed, prepared for the unpredictability of the moment.

Such questioning is not restricted to intellectual inquiry but engages the whole of our body and mind. "You must concentrate day and night," urges The Gateless Gate, "questioning yourself through every one of your 360 bones and 84,000 pores."

~ Stephen Batchelor
The Faith to Doubt: Glimpses of Buddhist Uncertainty