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Going beyond allegory – understanding the Buddha’s metaphors

  • Wellington Friends’ Centre 7 Moncrieff Street Mount Victoria Wellington (map)

In his discourses, the Buddha used a huge number of analogies and similes, and these have been well used in the various Buddhist traditions to illustrate the teachings. But how are these old stories relevant to us? Zooming in from Southampton in the UK, Jim Champion spoke to us on the middle way, how we can interpret these metaphors so they are closer to our lived experience. 

Instead of reducing metaphors to rigid dogma, he argued that we can allow them to speak to us in a more flexible way, giving them relevance to our lives whether we consider ourselves to ‘be’ a Buddhist, or not. In this talk, Jim examined the Buddha’s metaphor of the middle way.

He will be coming back at some future point to talk about metaphors such as such as the raft, the lute strings, the arrows, the ocean, the elephant and the snake, and the wet piece of wood.

Jim’s talks draw on material in a book by Robert Ellis that is due to be published next year, The Buddha's Middle Way: experiential judgement in his life and teaching.

◼ Jim first encountered secular Buddhism in April 2016, and has been practising since then. He is a member of The Middle Way Society, and the international online community Re~Collective, and has been involved in the production of After Buddhism: a workbook for The Tuwhiri Project.