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Buddhadharma : Winter 2015
winter 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 15 awakening, where all beings become part of our one dharma body. We should know, however, that to realize and embody this means we have work to do. FROM tIme to stand up (NORTH ATLANTIC BOOKS, AuGuST 2015) Wouldn’t you rather stay home? Even after forty years of practice, Zen Master Soeng Hyang (Barbara Rhodes) still has to talk herself into going on retreat. Where does the inspiration and strength to do an extended retreat come from? How do we arrange our life so it can accommodate time spent nurturing our commitment to deepening our practice? Perhaps the first barrier will be thinking we don’t have the time or the money (I’m not a monk, I don’t have a sponsor). Before even looking at the practicalities of time and money, it is far more important to look at the tremendous pain and confusion going on all around us, and perhaps even in our own family. How do we break through the walls of our igno- rance? How do we begin to see our habits and fears as mere illusions, ego formations thatwecanletgoof?Howdoweopenup to compassion and wisdom so we can begin to perceive how to help others? Zen Master Seung Sahn gave me the encouragement and instruction I needed to go into my first long retreat. That he had done this kind of training and strongly advocated for it was what I needed to have enough trust to try it myself. Still, whenever I have set time aside to do a retreat, there is a part of me—the check- ing, holding, and making backseat driver— that says, “Wouldn’t you rather stay home? It’s going to be hard! I’m not even sure this practice actually works.” I mean, every time there is at least a little of that kind of think- ing! One would guess that after over forty years of doing retreats, my “faith” mind would rule, but no, it still gets slightly stuck with little pieces of that thin and tenacious ego shell. The process of committing to and show- ing up for a retreat is a glorious and mar- velous feat. From the perspective of the big picture it is the ultimate manifestation of believing in one’s self. FROM prImary poInt, SuMMER 2015 a most amazing purification In a letter to a student, Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains the benefit of dedicating absolutely everything to others. Meditation on bodhicitta is the best practice to attain enlightenment in the quickest way. It is also the quickest way to free the sen- tient beings from the oceans of samsaric suf- fering and bring them to full enlightenment, especially if you are doing the practice of bodhicitta with tonglen—taking numberless sentient beings’ suffering and the causes of suffering into your heart, onto yourself, and destroying the self-cherishing thought as well as the ignorance, the root of your sam- sara, the oceans of suffering of samsara. When you take the sufferings of others, do so with compassion. When you dedi- cate to others, your body is in the form of numberless wish-granting jewels, and all sentient beings receive whatever they want from that, and they achieve the dharmakaya and rupakaya. Dedicate all your enjoyments and all your belongings to the numberless sentient beings of the six realms so they receive everything they want and achieve