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Buddhadharma : Spring 2015
spring 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 15 duty to do so.” Under the new paradigm, I became responsible for my own actions and helping alleviate the suffering I caused. “I vow” implies accepting responsibility both for the suffering we cause and for alle- viating that suffering. Through our actions, we directly alter countless lives. One’s “sin” cannot be instantly absolved. What the precepts—and our own direct experience through zazen—teach us is that every word we utter, every action we take, creates myriad ripples in the world. Although it’s a good start to apologize, we must also strive every moment to end the suffering for which we are responsible. FROM Zen Bow, 2014 don’t leave the station Simon Child says that when it comes to our trains of thought, the stationmaster knows better than to get on board. The common phrase in English is “a train of thought”; one thought leads to another. Sometimes, when you find yourself thinking about something, it’s interesting to reflect on how you got there. Often we have no idea because we’ve not been paying attention. I once caught myself and thought, “How on earth did I find myself thinking about this?” I was able to trace it back; maybe fifteen thoughts had linked together and ended up at a completely different place from where it started. Now, there’s no problem with thoughts doing this—they create these trains, and it’s okay. We can just let these trains of thought pass through the mind and show themselves to us. We don’t attach to them or engage with them. The problem is our tendency to board the train and follow it to its destination. We hop on the train and it takes us away to some future fantasy or back in time to something that we want to fix (even though it’s already happened). We get tangled up in these trains of thoughts. The image that works for me is this: you are the railway stationmaster, and the trains are your guests. There’s no problem with trains coming and going in a railway station. But it is a problem if you hop on one and travel off three hundred miles; then you’ve aban- doned your duty. FROM Chan MagaZine, AuTuMN 2014 Wake up to the revolution Only when we recognize our connection to the earth, says Thich Nhat Hanh, can real change begin. We can all experience a feeling of deep admiration and love when we see the great harmony, elegance, and beauty of the earth. A simple branch of cherry blossom, the shell of a snail, or the wing of a bat—all bear witness to the earth’s masterful creativity. Every advance in our scientific understand- ing deepens our admiration and love for this wondrous planet. When we can truly see and understand the earth, love is born in our hearts. We feel connected. That is the meaning of love: to be at one. Only when we’ve fallen back “ the dalai lama institution will cease one day. these man-made institutions will cease. ” — the Dalai lama on BBC Newsnight