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Buddhadharma : Spring 2006
buddhadharma| 25 |spring 2006 years later, as a graduate student in Manhattan, I stood before andrew Wyeth’s painting, Christina’s World, in the Museum of Modern art. It was the exact portrait of my experience – stranded in a pink dress out in the wasteland, paralyzed, and surrounded by nothing. I had inadvertently dis- covered an interior landscape of desolation and meaninglessness, monotony and primitive simplic- ity. There was something terribly true about that terrain that I could not avoid. around this time, I first began sitting practice. Sitting placed me directly in this landscape, and I assumed that this was an experience of what the Buddhist texts and teachers called emptiness. Sitting gave me a way to relate to this world. and when I first took Buddhist vows, I took comfort that I had joined a religion that lived in this stark and lonely terrain. as a refugee, I had given up home, friends, family, and hope, and I doubted I would ever be in a genuinely loving relationship. It represented a journey of grim, dramatic resigna- tion. But at least it seemed real. Later I discovered that this was most defi- nitely not emptiness, for it was full of concepts, emotions, and a new brand of hopes and fears. It was emotionally dark, intellectually sharp and