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Buddhadharma : Winter 2009
73 winter 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly deified, status. If we do so, then what prospects do we have? And therein lies the reminder: now, bringing clear and pres- ent awareness to your body and all that that entails (namely, everything!), how is it with you? Is infatuation present? Have you unbound from its toxic compulsion? Where, if not there, in your body, can the answer be found? Gautama’s advice to attend closely to our bodies for direct evidence of our condition stems, of course, from an axiom that he holds: we are estranged from ourselves. Thus, estranged, we are constantly battered by, well, infatuation, hostility, and delusion. What can we do about that? Here, Gautama pushes his students further than Janussoni, and challenges them to really do what it takes: meditate. In Gautama’s view, we are never free from difficulty. Really, the first noble truth could be translated as “life is difficulty.” Given that premise, Gautama’s teachings always show us how to create ease for ourselves in the midst of this tense, difficult world. And his prescribed method, meditation, enables us slowly to unbind ourselves from the trouble-making effects of infatuation, hostility, and delusion. If we take Gautama’s word that each of his teachings contains the flavor of the whole—as every drop of the ocean’s water contains the taste of salt—then it might not be an exaggeration to claim that “Quenched” and “Destination” are saturated with the whole of his dharma. In one of the most moving passages in all of the massive canons of Buddhist literature, none stirs me as much these final words of our sutra “Destination”: In this way, I have taught to you the destination and the path leading to the destination. That which should be done out of compassion by a caring teacher who desires the welfare of his students, I have done for you. There are secluded places. Meditate, do not be negligent! Don’t have regrets later! This is my instruction to you. After all, what more can a teacher say? annecutler