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Buddhadharma : Winter 2011
9 WINTER 2 01 1 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY advantage to the Vipassana tradition when the teachers were looking to the future of Buddhism in the West, unless it was intended to be that way. Is this my own paranoia being a student in the Vajrayana tradition? I have learned through my teachers that all dharma is relevant. An invita- tion-only gathering that excludes or underrepresents many traditions being practiced in the West yet strives to fur- ther the adaptation of dharma is only creating a stronger division between tra- ditions. We can see how that has worked between the denominations of Christian- ity and we should take our lessons from their mistakes. Lawrence Berry Westfield, Vermont Geoffrey Shugen Arnold’s meditation on trust and betrayal (“Trust,” Fall 2011) illuminates many of the challenges that arise when sexual desire enters into the student–teacher relationship. Sadly, however, Arnold Sensei fails to confront the sexual predation that has emerged repeatedly in American Bud- dhist communities. In the last twelve months, two teach- ers have admitted to decades of sexual predation. These abuses go far beyond “extramarital affairs” and have resulted in the destruction of human lives. Both of these teachers have repeatedly preyed on students in the dharma room, interview room, boardroom, and bedroom. How could their dharma have validity, given their failure to take responsibility for their own afflictive impulses? Is dharma separate from intention and action? I sincerely hope the worldwide sangha will continue to deepen its insight into these issues. Barry Briggs Seattle, Washington Dorian Kondas was featured in “First Thoughts” in the Fall 2011 issue discussing his struggle to develop com- passion for the “muscle-clad men” in the gym and to see them as human and suf- fering, just as he has suffered. He writes, “This is why they need to build their armor. They are protecting something. They have become the reflec- tion of other people.” Dorian, you generalize and you still fail to see these men as human. Some men may exercise out of insecu- rity, some out of a celebration of essen- tial maleness, and some for the simple pleasure of it. Whatever the case may be, with a weight perched awkwardly above you, the importance of here-and- now is self-evident. It has been my expe- rience that some of my most contem- plative moments have occurred during exercise—whether it was lifting weights, running or swimming. Lifting a weight, playing a note, paint- ing a character—these are all the same when approached with mindfulness. Mike Lawrie East Wallingford, Vermont This morning I read the article “Wel- coming the Homeless” in the Sum- mer 2011 issue. The story of how Kiley Jon Clark began his outreach by simply meditating under a bridge where home- less people gathered underscored for me the importance for each of us as practi- tioners to lead our lives as examples for others. It led me to think about how I might make changes in my life and prac- tice to be a similar model for sharing the dharma with those who express an interest. Please know that your work has ripples beyond what you might see on a daily basis. Michael Young San Francisco, California WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK the following people and organizations for their assistance with this issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Bill Aiken • Myokei Caine-Barrett • Manuel Bauer Natascha Bruckner • Contact Press Images Koshin Paley Ellison • Ellen Folan • Kevin Game James Goodchild • Liz McDermott Peggy Monastra • Todd Polling • Steve Pyke Roland Schmid • Sebene Selassie Georgina Shomroni • Daphne Slocombe Sobell House • Priscilla Storandt • Maria Tuckler Marcy Vaughn • Dzung Vo • Larry Yang