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Buddhadharma : Fall 2015
fall 2 0 1 5 buDDhaDharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 13 this suffering due to misconduct informs our future behavior. Ideally, once harmful conduct ceases, so should the corresponding moral shame. However, the concept of hiri-ottappa as a form of moral sensitivity does not account for the toxic experience of guilt, shame, and self-criticism that is detached from actual harmful conduct. The latter constellation of emotions is not protect- ive but destructive, egocentric, and often impervious to healing through wholesome conduct. It is, as described by Ajahn Amaro, what happens when “the ego ruthlessly co-opts hiri-ottappa.” Among Western Buddhist practitioners, this experience is often unresponsive to healing through sila, or mindful awareness, leading many to seek more targeted practices such as mindful self-compassion and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a powerful tool for many issues, but it takes discernment to know what can and cannot be addressed in therapy. Analyzing problems innate to being born as a human may be akin to handing a shovel to someone caught in a pit, when what is really needed is a ladder. To recognize insecurity as a fact of human existence—and not evidence of shameful shortcomings—helps relieve ourselves of the unrealistic expectation that it is a problem we should be expected to solve, and allows for a different way of encountering, hold- ing, and opening to this as a reality. This possibility is where our dharma practice begins. FROM insight Journal, JuNE 2, 2015 hey kids, listen up Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche recently sat down with some young children and let them in on a few secrets. First, the most important is what? Playing. The second? Be kind. The rest is details. Education. Jobs. It doesn’t matter. And third—don’t grow up. They tell you to grow up fast. Don’t grow up. You must take a long time to grow up. Twenty, maybe even thirty years. Don’t lose this state of mind. Don’t grow up. Now, fourth: don’t tell your parents what I tell you. TO VIEW ThE ENTIRE VIDEO, GO TO: LIONSROAR.COM/ PLAyS-ThE-ThING-SAyS-DzONGSAR-KhyENSTE-RINPOChE/ “more suffering is necessary” Zen Master Soeng Hyang (Barbara Rhodes) recalls her teacher’s insight into why students waver on the path. Recently I heard about an experiment with college students, studying people’s ability to do meditation. The students were asked to sit in a quiet room with no stimulation, but they had another choice: they could be hit by a small electric shock every five seconds. About 75 percent preferred the electric shock. This is how difficult silence is for many Americans—they’d rather get an electric shock! When I go to a movie, I notice the pre- views have tremendously exaggerated noise and activity—BOOM BA-BOOM BA- BOOM. So many people are used to being overstimulated. And there is a high attrition rate for those who do come to practice. I think we’ve all experienced having some- one leave the practice even after they have been coming for many years. I used to ask Zen Master Seung Sahn, “What did we do wrong? Why did they leave?” He’d always say, “More suffering is necessary.” I was thinking about a story that I heard Zen Master Seung Sahn tell about a spar- row. She lived in a large forest. This bird was very evolved: she never checked, held, or made anything! She was always paying attention and was so gregarious that she knew all the animals in the forest. She not only knew the animals, she also respected