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Taking a leap

Exploring real questions with members of Nalandabodhi

What is the relevance of Buddhist teachings for the world of today, for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike? What does it mean to be on a spiritual path in general – and a Buddhist one specifically? To be on the road to freedom, as Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche puts it? Or, as philosophers like Socrates would say, trying to find truth, beauty and goodness in life?

Here you can find conversations with members of our Nalandabodhi International Community (Sangha) from all over the world – about why and when they took a leap onto a Buddhist path. We discuss what the relevance is of Buddhist teachings in our world of today, for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.

Discover their full stories here in written form or listen to the conversation as a podcast on our SoundCloud. New conversations will be added, usually every month. 

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Taking a leap?

You probably have not thought about it like this, but we all decide to take a leap on a daily basis. For example, by trying a new cooking recipe in the kitchen, starting a new project at work, or surprising a good friend with a gift you created yourself. 

We take such leaps also on a more fundamental level, during moments in which we leave behind a life that was familiar to us, into something not entirely known yet. We start a journey that is both scary and joyful. 

Whatever sparked our exploration into the unknown and made us contemplate questions about life, it is in that moment we take a leap onto something we can call a spiritual path. Though wisdom, compassion, and a meaningful life can be found in many places, for members of Nalandabodhi it has meant taking a leap into a Buddhist path. 

The notion of Taking a Leap is at the very heart of these conversations, conducted by our sangha member Fransiscus Ismaël. Each conversation is an exploration how to develop wisdom, kindness and learn to live fully while contemplating on the unique path of a particular member. At some point they all made a decision to leave behind a life that was familiar and ventured into the unknown – to be free from suffering and find true happiness.

Each conversation ends with a question that each person currently is trying to find an answer to. We can call that a ‘Real Question’. Moreover, they will share some thoughts & feelings for everyone that is considering to Take a leap… something we all continue to do every day.

The conversations end with a playful reference to the Buddhist monk & great teacher Shantideva. Whether we see ourselves as Buddhists or not: 

May these conversations be like a boat, a bridge, a passage, for those desiring the further shore.

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Introduction by the interviewer

When did I start to ask questions about life and the world I lived in? What caused me to do so? Moreover, at which point – and why – did I decide to take a leap into a Buddhist path? 

I have often asked my mother whether she ever imagined the kind of path that I went on in my life. Now, she says, it seems to make sense. But back then, when I was a little kid? She does not know. Neither do I.

In these conversations with members of Nalandabodhi I am trying to figure out why and when people leap into a Buddhist path and the relevance of Buddhist teachings for the world of today. But it also has become a further examination of myself, my own path in life and what it actually means to ‘take a leap’… and why it seems necessary for everyone to do so.