using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2012
56 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2 0 1 2 One of the major roles for the sangha in North America is also to gather, codify, and transmit the teachings that we have been fortunate to receive in the West. It is our responsibility to preserve the dharma here so that it can take root. Buddhism is changing rapidly in its articulation as it becomes established in the West. It is our duty, I think, to keep this dharma pure and pristine while also allowing it to evolve and take new forms. It struck me recently that something is hap- pening in the West with the three jewels of the Buddha, dharma, and sangha that may never have happened before. It is possible for a contem- porary practitioner to have allegiance to only one of these gems, the dharma itself. Many practitio- ners of mindfulness meditation in North America do not think of themselves as Buddhists, nor do they see the practice of meditation in connection with religion at all. Many unaffiliated Buddhists do not associate meditation with a relationship to a teacher, a tradition, or a particular commu- nity of practice. You can learn mindfulness medi- tation from books, DVDs, television programs, and the internet. Even in situations where you receive personal instruction from a teacher, you might regard learning to meditate like learning to drive or play tennis. There is no committed teacher–student relationship implied. No par- ticular loyalty to a teacher or to a set of dharma teachings is necessarily required. Within Buddhism as it developed in Asia, there were many different approaches to working with a teacher. The teacher might be an elder, a spiri- tual friend, or the more severe vajra master, as in the Vajrayana tradition. How will the teacher– student relationship evolve in North America? We are used to a great deal of personal freedom, so we may feel that we can choose exactly the kind of relationship we want to have with a teacher. But the role of the teacher has not tradi- tionally been based on personal choice, although individual factors have always played a part. In many cases the choice of a teacher was related to where you lived or what community you were part of, as well as the judgment of teachers in that community regarding how much you could handle or what was appropriate for you. These are still key things to consider before committing to a teacher and a practice community. As practitioners coming to terms with the role of a teacher, we have ingrained views of authority and hierarchy that come into play. Some people, for example, worry that spiritual commitment to a teacher will lead to a relationship in which inappropriate power is given to one person over another, which surely can happen. For some, this may become a reason not to have a teacher at all. People may feel that, like the Buddha, they can figure it out for themselves. In other areas of our culture, such as art, writ- ing, or even cooking, we accept the need to have a demanding mentor. If you want to become a chef in New York, you are probably going to have to submit to a rigorous training in the kitchen of a dictator. And chances are, you’ll eat it up, so to speak, if this is really your path. (See Bill Buford’s book Heat.) In the West, we understand an intensely personal apprenticeship as part of the necessary discipline of learning an art or a craft, but we are very suspicious when it relates to religion. The other side of the same coin is naively embracing the belief that having a teacher means happily surrendering one’s doubt. This mental- ity, when taken to its extreme, has led to cults in the West, but it can also come into play in many legitimate communities. It sometimes results in intolerance toward anyone who holds a minority view within a sangha, someone who doesn’t go along with the dominant culture or mystique. This is a place where attitudes about the teacher CAROLYN ROSE GIMIAN is a meditation teacher trained by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She is the editor of Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery, and other teachings by Chögyam Trungpa, including his Collected Works. LIZAMATTHEWS