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Walking, Nature, and Engaged Buddhism – with Christopher Titmuss

christopher titmuss

In this episode, host Michael W. Taft speaks with senior dharma teacher Christopher Titmuss about yatra—meditative pilgrimage without a destination—the power of nature, the importance of deconstructing the self, the psychedelic 60s, Vietnam, engaged Buddhism, the role of spiritual practice in the current world crisis, and the central role of liberation in meditation.

Christopher Titmuss is an insight meditation teacher, author, and former Theravada Buddhist monk. He is the co-founder of Gaia House, a large Buddhist retreat center in Devon, England, where he has been teaching since the early 1980s. A renowned proponent of engaged Buddhism, Christopher is the author of numerous books, and twice ran for election as a top Green Party candidate in England.


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6 thoughts on “Walking, Nature, and Engaged Buddhism – with Christopher Titmuss”

  1. First off, I want to say thank you for producing my favorite podcast. It has been one of the most valuable pieces in the big package of pragmatic dharma / insight discovery.

    In this episode and a few previous ones, you have asked the question of whether practice should include activism and whether meditating quietly in a monastery, deconstructing oneself was “enough”. The question, with the slightest pressure behind it, has always bothered me a little. I found Christopher’s answer to be refreshing, compassionate and the “right view”. It may be easy for one who’s naturally sociable, an author, a blogger, a meditation coach and popular podcast host gifted with ambition to want to see world changing efforts in others. It’s not as natural or even possible for others in ways in which you may not be able to relate and it quite frankly may not be their path. It is “enough” to be mindfully present and aware. What path blooms out of this presence may be heart. It may be activism. It may be solitude. It may be a simple life in a simple career in a small town or big city. Certainly, there is the modern new-agey “meditate the problems away” phenomenon, but with the given DY audience, I see this discourse aimed beyond that. There have always been and forever will be both awakened socially engaged activists and awakened hermits in living close with the earth in quiet and solitude.

    Again, thank you for creating such a wonderful collection of work.

    1. Thanks for your praise and your thoughtful comment, Nick. I ask the question with some “pressure behind it” it is true, but not because I think that I know the right answer to it. Instead it’s an earnest and living question in me right now, something I’m very interested in hearing what other teachers think about it. The urgency you hear is real, because I think that we are on the edge of total destruction (climate catastrophe, starvation, climate wars, other wars, etc.) and that humanity has very little time left to figure out how to live on this earth without destroying all life. I don’t, however, have a pat answer about what that means for each individual, if there is or even can be some kind of “moral imperative” about taking action at this time. I just don’t know. And so I’m asking out of an authentic and ongoing investigation of this question. And your response contributes to that investigation, so, thank you. I look forward to hearing more from you.

  2. I deeply understand your concern and appreciate your investigation. Thank you for taking the time to answer. Keep up the amazing work. It’s been an honor to join the conversation.

  3. Hi Michael,

    I’ve been listening to the podcast for a weeks now and just wanted to say thank you. The first few episodes almost felt like a religious experience to. Your somber voices, the in-depth discussions and the intro music just created something beautiful and deep. Since then, the show has widened my interest in meditation and has directed me to very interesting topics and people. I’ve recommended the show to others and hope that there is much more to come. Thank you!

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