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Buddhadharma : Fall 2009
getting old. Mind is ageless, beyond birth and death. Think- ing that whatever happens to body happens to mind, to me, is the biggest problem we have. It’s one of the biggest sources of suffering. reggie ray: Our real obstacle is not the particular problems we’re having in our body. It’s thinking that what goes on in the body ultimately impedes the mind. Cyndi Lee: I’m honestly not sure about that. What about brain chemistry processes that impede your mental functioning and can cause debilitating conditions like dementia? reggie ray: Keep in mind that we’re talking about awareness that is free from conditioning and even free from birth and death. Something that may challenge our thinking mind a great deal, such as physical problems or illness, could actually force us to a much deeper level of meditative realization. tenzin WangyaL rinPoChe: Illness and adverse physical condi- tions affect what we call the moving mind, the thinking mind, the mind that can guide awareness in various directions. But in the end we’ll have to give up the thinking mind. It dissolves into space along with everything else, and we’re left with pure awareness. Nothing affects pure awareness. reggie ray: I lost several days of sleep recently, and I had to do a bunch of interviews with students. I was so exhausted that my mind wouldn’t work. Yet I sat down with them anyway, and the only way I could get through it was to simply rest in a more natural and open state of mind. I remained upright despite feeling on the verge of collapse. It felt like the incapac- ity forced me to a much deeper awareness of my own mind. tenzin WangyaL rinPoChe: There is a sleep yoga practice where you don’t sleep for three to five days. Then after you finally go to sleep, a teacher or fellow student wakes you up and asks you, “Who are you?” That’s a way to introduce you to the natural state. PhiLLiP Moffitt: When people come to a retreat with an injury or chronic pain, they often say they don’t know if they should be there, they’re probably going to have to leave, and so forth. In that case, we teach people to be with We may think that if our body is not working well, we are no longer able to practice. But mind is ageless, beyond birth and death. Thinking that whatever happens to body happens to mind is the biggest problem we have. —Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche ➤ continued page 95