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Buddhadharma : Summer 2014
SUMMER 2 0 1 4 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 13 nausea, not as “pain” but as intense physical energy. No longer needing to feel a particular way, I was sometimes struck by a sense of the quiet joy of just being. In giving up my attachment to comfort I would sometimes feel a depth of appreciation that, by ordinary standards, simply did not compute. FROM THE AUTHENTIC LIFE, PUBLISHED BY SHAMBHALA PUBLICATIONS, APRIL 2014 IT’S RIGHT THERE Geoffrey Shugen Arnold points to that famous tree in the garden. Can you see it? A student asked Master Zhaozhou, “What is the meaning of the Ancestor’s coming from India?” In other words, “What is the real truth of buddhadharma? Is there a truth that isn’t the result of someone’s project or ambi- tion or philosophy? Is there a truth by which we can live?” Zhaozhou pointed outside and replied, “The cypress tree in the garden.” Anyone standing there could see the tree that Zhaozhou was pointing to. The student saw it, and so did Zhaozhou. But what did Zhaozhou see, that he answered this way? What did the student not see? How do we look at this tree and not lose ourselves, not become upside down? The way we engage that question in practice is to first recognize that we are actually upside down, that we have become lost to ourselves. The one thing that we would rather deny, we have to thor- oughly admit. The student sees a tree. It’s not the same as him; it’s not the same as the next tree. It’s sep- arate from himself; it’s separate from every- thing. And in seeing the tree as something that is distinctly not him, he is actually seeing the tree as the constructed self. What does this mean? The student is looking with his eyes. Zhaozhou sees the tree with his eyes, too, but he’s not relying on that. He sees without dis- tance, without a name, without a category. But he does say, “Cypress tree in the garden.” He uses the name. Even though Zhaozhou uses these words, he’s not deceived by them. The koan challenges us to do just the same. This is the function of the teachings— they’re not here to comfort, to corroborate our attachments and views. They’re not even intended to startle us; they just do. FROM MOUNTAIN RECORD, WINTER 2013–14 SHOPPING MEDITATION Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how a trip to the store can remind us how little we need. It is possible to go shopping and not to buy anything. There was a time in Plum Village when we needed some nails. I told the chil- dren visiting us that we were going shopping. Our intention was to buy the nails and not buy anything else. However, we could look at any of the items for sale in the supermarket in order to learn about them and to medi- tate on the suffering that may have resulted from their production. For instance, if an item seemed to be very cheap, we could ask ourselves whether the worker who produced it was paid a fair price. Was the method of farming sustainable? We can educate our- selves and our children by shopping mind- fully and sharing afterward what we learned. The supermarket does its best to persuade us to buy things we never intended to buy, and shopping meditation helps us be content with what we truly need. Before shopping, make a list of what you need and only buy what is on the list. What makes us truly happy can’t be found in the marketplace. FROM THE MINDFULNESS SURVIVAL KIT, PUBLISHED BY PARALLAX PRESS, DECEMBER 2013