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Buddhadharma : Winter 2005
buddhadharma| 25 |winter 2005 have to deal with in the interim. I learned later that he was deliberately setting this up. Then he would come in and peer around the room to see how we were doing in working with the disruptions. Difficulties and frustrations, such as we expe- rienced in getting started tonight, allow you to remember where you really are. You can find a kind of freedom from getting hung up on difficul- ties, which can serve you well in your marriage, your family, and your community – where you will find lots of difficulties and frustrations. It’s the kind of freedom that can serve you better than almost anything else. Pema Chödrön: We get misled by the ads in mag- azines where people are looking blissful in their matching outfits, which also match their medita- tion cushions. We can get to thinking that medita- tion and the spiritual path is about transcending the difficulties in your life and finding this just- swell place. But that doesn’t help you very much because that sets you up for being constantly dis- appointed with what happens every day at break- fast, lunch, and dinner – all day long. Jack Kornfield: Yes, we have these great ideals about how we’re supposed to be. But when we are standing in a long line that isn’t moving and we find ourselves saying, “This place hosts events all the time, how come they can’t get it together?” we don’t have to pretend that our irritability is not there or compare it unfavorably with our ideal ver- sion of ourselves. We could simply take a breath and say, “This is how I am – this is anger, this is fear, this is great irritation.” There’s another kind of gesture that you can also practice, which I think of as a kind of inward bow. You say, “Here’s anger, here’s irritation, here is being really pissed off, and not only that, I had a hard day and I came here and I thought they were going to help me and instead they make it worse!” [Laughter] We bow to that and acknowl- edge that. In that regard, I would like to read to you my new favorite little piece: “If you can sit quietly after difficult news, if in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm, if you can see your neigh- bors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy, if you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate and fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill, if you can always find contentment just where you are, you are prob- ably a dog.” [Laughter] There’s a certain sense of humor that is abso- lutely necessary for our human condition. When we have that sense of humor, things become christinealicino