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Buddhadharma : Summer 2007
buddhadharma| 11 |summer 2007 firSt thoughtS the moSt important goal The late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche emphasizes that it’s not enough to wish you could be free of sam- sara. It has to be the single most important goal in your life. Determination to be free from samsara, based on disillusionment, is the foundation of all dharma practice. Unless you have made a clear decision to turn your back on samsara, then however many prayers you recite, however much you meditate, however many years you remain in retreat, it will all be in vain. You may have a long life, but it will be without essence. You may accumulate great wealth, but it will be meaningless. The only thing that is really worth doing is to get steadily closer to enlightenment and farther away from samsara. Think about it carefully. Contemplate death and the sufferings of sam sara, and you will not want to waste a single moment in pointless distractions and activities, such as trying to get rich, defeating your enemies, or spending your life protecting and furthering the interests of those to whom you are attached. You will only want to practice the dharma. A bedridden patient only thinks about getting well again. He or she has no wish to remain sick forever. Likewise, a practitioner who yearns to leave the miseries of samsara behind will make use of all the ways in which that can be done, such as taking refuge, generating the mind set on attaining enlightenment for the sake of others, undertaking positive actions, and so on, with a firm determina tion to get out of samsara constantly in mind. It is not enough to wish from time to time that you could be free of samsara. That idea must per vade your stream of thinking day and night. A prisoner locked in jail thinks all the time about different ways of getting free – how he might climb over the walls, ask powerful people to intervene, or raise money to bribe someone. So, too, seeing the suffering and imperfection of samsara, never stop thinking about how to gain liberation, with a deep feeling of renunciation. from The hearT of Compassion: a CommenTary on The ThirTy-seven-fold praCTiCe of a BodhisaTTva, BY dilgo khYentse. puBlished BY shAmBhAlA puBlicAtions, 2007. the caSe for not eating our friendS Mandala editor Nancy Patton presents key reasons why Buddhists should lay off the excuses and stop eating meat. In some Tibetan Buddhist circles that have devel oped in the West, meat eating is promoted as part of a tantric lifestyle – “tantric” in this case being misappropriated to mean not being hung up on conventional morals or concepts of purity. Other lamas have acknowledged that it is meritorious to stop eating meat – if one can manage it – but say that there is more important work to be done, like taming the mind and praying for the benefit of all sentient beings. Besides, some have argued, once you become enlightened, you have set up a link with all those beings you have eaten (or perhaps a heavy karmic trail). If one was enlightened like the tenthcentury Tibetan saint Tilopa, then one could send the consciousness of the being to the pure land before eating the flesh. Another argument put forth by meat eaters is simply this: “I didn’t kill the animal, it was already dead. I may have some responsibility, but I don’t have the motivation to kill, only the motivation to eat meat.” Whatever karmic perspective one holds, it is obvious that if nobody were to eat meat on this planet, the lives of billions and billions of animals illustrations kathErinE strEEtEr