using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Spring 2008
buddhadharma| 39 |spring 2008 something deeper. then we can open into a wider sense of what happiness is. happiness isn’t just the limited positive states we strive for, but rather there is a larger openness that includes sorrow and joy. that would be true happiness. a friend of mine used to teach by asking people to consider, what is the good life? What would it really mean to have or lead a good life? the conventional understanding is materialistic, but people come to realize that a good life actually might be a life based on compassion and serving others. and indeed, longtime practitioners often do say there is more happiness in their lives. that’s also classically Buddhist, in that the Buddha’s pres- ence was such that he communicated to others a glimpse that awakening is possible, but that wake- fulness is far beyond seeking happiness. Andrew Olendzki: our word “happiness” is probably too limited. With dukkha, we were saying that there’s physical pain and then there’s the resistance to that, which is a greater existential meaning of dukkha. maybe the same could be said for sukkha. there’s physical pleasure and mental pleasure, but the Buddha was saying that it’s possible to culti- vate a mind that’s larger and more balanced in the face of either pleasure or displeasure. It’s a matter of getting to a wider mind that can embrace both and still experience profound well-being. Well- being is not necessarily the same as happiness. happiness is just a matter of stringing together pleasant moments. BuddhAdhArmA: Sometimes people imagine that the profound happiness you talk about... GAylOn ferGusOn: ...which is sometimes called great joy... BuddhAdhArmA: ...would enable you to be chilled out, cool as andrew said earlier, or beatific, even in situations of extreme sorrow, like a dear friend’s death. Is that accurate? BlAnche hArtmAn: Well, that’s kind of deadening isn’t it? the only way you can do that is to just not feel anything. that doesn’t sound like well- being, or cessation, to me. Andrew Olendzki: It’s a form of aversion, isn’t it? It’s not pushing away aggressively or violently, but it’s pushing away by not letting it matter. the middle path is between holding on and pushing away. It’s knowing and seeing something for what it is, in all its poignancy. that allows us to get more intimate with what’s happening, whether it’s tragedy or joy. otherwise, we’re just denying. GAylOn ferGusOn: also, responding to the suffer- ing of the world goes against the notion of being chilled out and thinking everything is fine as it is. the commitment to lessening suffering in all kinds Most students have had a taste of cessation, a taste of dropping the boundary that separates me from other. When they do, they can breathe freely in the world. — B lanche Hartman of ways is a part of how the buddhas have demon- strated their nature to us. their compassion and responsiveness to human suffering is who they are. Andrew Olendzki: In a world that’s fully interde- pendent, one person’s chilling out often is at the expense of a lot of other people bearing the burden. BuddhAdhArmA: happiness and chilling out seem to be suspect motivations for the path, but isn’t start- ing off with the truth of dukkha an off-putting place to begin? BlAnche hArtmAn: Not necessarily. acknowledging dukkha can set up a connection among us, the sense that we’re all in this boat together. Andrew Olendzki: I would have to say, though, in my experience it’s actually not a very good place to start. trying to convince americans of the truth of suffering is no small challenge. So many people are insulated from it, or have thought their way around, that it’s an uphill struggle. GAylOn ferGusOn: Not all teachings begin with the truth of suffering. In the buddhanature teachings, one begins with non-struggle, basic sanity, as the basis. then one might proceed to discovering how we’ve covered over our fundamental nature, open spacious awareness, through habits of karma and klesha. We have become constricted and we strug- gle. the Buddha taught a variety of skillful means for different beings, and the four noble truths we are familiar with is one such skillful means. In the Flower Garland Sutra, a slightly different version of the four noble truths is presented, from the bud- dhanature viewpoint. Andrew Olendzki: I taught a class full of undergradu- ates at Brandeis last year. I blithely started with the first noble truth, and I had a major fight on my hands. I spent an hour trying to explain what I meant. they all walked out of there thinking that Buddhism is pretty pessimistic, just as they had thought. GAylOn ferGusOn: In a consumerist culture, you wouldn’t usually deliver a product by beginning with unhappiness. But of course the teachings of Buddhism do go against the stream that there is pleasure and then greater pleasure and then greater pleasure after that. Andrew Olendzki: as I understand it, in the classi- cal teachings, the four noble truths is not so much the beginning point as the ending point. It summa- rizes the essential insights that the Buddha had, that brought about his awakening. I find it more effective to mention the truth of suffering halfway through the curriculum rather than on the first day. at that point, it’s rather to say, now that we’ve understood enough to know how much we’re kidding ourselves, constructing an illusionary life, we can see that NisaharoN