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Buddhadharma : Fall 2009
25 fall 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly through your negative emotions, such as anger or attachment. It is important to understand that it’s possible to live life with equanimity as well as with enthusi- asm, inspiration, and a loving heart. It seems in the West we associate passion with uncontrolled emotion. Emotion drives us toward what seems shiny and promising. But it is possible to experience strong emotion, or strong enthusiasm, or inspiration, without being driven by emotion. You must guide emotion—you are the source of that emotion, and also the driver. You guide that emotion and live and act with it, but you are in control. Equanimity means total control of our emotions. While we usually equate control with tension and effort, that’s not the case here. A good athlete will perform with grace and strength, with no extra ten- sion. A confident and skilled driver will drive a car with good control, but not tension. If you drive too loosely, and without respect for the conditions of the road and the capacity of the vehicle, you will lose control of the car. But if you are a good driver, you are in relation to all conditions present and are not tense. The fundamental requirement for con- trol is that you are open. You are open and you are aware in that openness. In Tibetan Buddhism there is a saying that samsaric beings are controlled by their karma and their emotions, while enlightened beings are not. If we are honest, we cannot say we are not con- trolled by our emotions, but how much we suffer is a question of how much we are controlled by our emotions. Are you guiding your emotions, or are your emo- tions propelling you in certain direc- tions? With open awareness, you are not the victim of conditions; rather, you are able to guide your emotional energies, and are therefore free to experience curi- osity, enthusiasm, and joy in living. You can be open and love some- one and not be attached. You can be excited about something without being bound by the expectation of a specific outcome. Unfortunately, people often become excited about an imagined out- come rather than experience joy in the (lEFT-RIgHT):BARBARAwENgER,MARyEllENMCCOURT,MARylANg Zen Mountain Monastery one month residential program An Introduction to Zen and the Eight Gates of Training Abbot John Daido Loori Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Vice Abbot Join us throughout the year for month-long training intensives in a monastic and lay residential community in New York’s Catskill Mountains. Rigorous training in zazen, teacher-student relationship, academic study, liturgy, the Buddhist precepts, work practice, art practice and body practice. The month culminates with a week-long silent retreat. 845.688 .2228 email@example.com www.mro.org Mountains and Rivers Order of zeN BuddhisM www.dharmacrafts.com 800.794.9862 Buddhadharma readers please use keycode: BDA meditation cushions incense bells & gongs statues contemplative garden home furnishings jewelry & gifts DharmaCraf ts THE CATALOG OF MEDITATION SUPPLIES since 1979