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Buddhadharma : Winter 2013
WINTER 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 81 Abiding Independent The last line of the Satipatthana refrain unifies the practice of meditation with its goal: “And one abides independent, not clinging to anything in the world.” This line encapsulates the entire path. “Abiding independent” refers to the mind not being attached to any aris- ing experience, either through craving or views. “Craving” or “desire” are the usual translations of the Pali word tanha. But tanha is also sometimes translated as “thirst,” and somehow this translation conveys the more embodied urgency of this powerful state of mind. It keeps us in a state of dependency both in our meditation practice and in our lives. One of the great discoveries as we proceed along the path is that, on one level, birth and death, existence and nonexistence, self and other, are the great defining themes of our lives. And on another level, we come to understand that all experience is just a show of empty appearances. This understanding points to the other aspect of “abiding independent, not clinging to anything in the world”—that is, not being attached through views and, most fundamentally, the view of self. In our normal mode of perception, when we see, hear, smell, taste, or touch, or when we cognize things through the mind, there immediately arises a false sense of “I” and “mine”: “I’m seeing”; “I’m hearing.” Then we elaborate fur- ther: “I’m meditating,” with the corol- laries “I’m a good (or bad) meditator” or “I’m a good (or bad) person.” We build a whole superstructure of self on top of momentary, changing conditions. The Bahiya Sutta In one short and liberating teaching, the Bahiya Sutta, or the Discourse to Bahiya, the Buddha pointed the way to freedom from this dependence through views of self. In the time of the Buddha, as the story goes, Bahiya was shipwrecked on the southern coast of India. He had lost everything, even his clothes, and so cov- ered himself with the bark of trees. ➤ “ You could spend the rest of your life reading and rereading this deceptively simple book; it is that deep.” Rich Hanson, PhD Buddha’s Brain Save 25% through December 2013. Use code BDF13 at parallax.org and 800/863-5290. parallaxpress @parallaxpress Peace of Mind Thich Nhat Hanh $14.95, paperback 978-1-937006-44-0