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Buddhadharma : Spring 2009
63 SPRING 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly Still, Skarda insists, “My teaching is how I exist more than what I say, that I live in a certain way and make certain choices—to not be that comfortable, to take on the rigors of daily practice in a full-time way. Doing my sessions, studying the texts, reflecting on different topics— there is almost no time in my day that is not absorbed with that.” Skarda has no intention of combining a life devoted to the Buddhist path with living an ordinary life—a project she likens (quoting Patrul rinpoche) to riding two horses in oppo- site directions. rather, she has eschewed ordinary life completely. “There are a lot of people who have studied and practiced Buddhism who go out and talk about it. But there aren’t that many who just do it. Talking about meditation isn’t meditat- ing. Talking about emptiness isn’t medi- tating on it. Talking about compassion isn’t a transformation of your mind into a compassionate entity. Talking about the path isn’t pursuing it, isn’t doing it.” Her ultimate teaching, she says, “Is that you can do it.” Skarda never considered herself a “career philosopher.” She says she didn’t much care about success or renown. She also didn’t argue for the sake of argu- ment. For her, philosophy is and always has been a way of life—living a life that is true, in the old, Socratic sense of the profession. For her, she says, “Ultimately, everything in life hung on truth—getting the truth about how this all is. And that still drives my life, the notion that there is something that matters that you get right. And it’s the thing that unlocks everything, undoes all the traps, and makes you free. And that is what I found in Buddhism.” Both the Dalai Lama and Chetsang rinpoche have encouraged her to stay in retreat. Skarda says Chetsang rinpoche advised her to continue retreat until she died. He told her, “That’s the greatest gift you can give to me, and that’s the greatest gift you can give to yourself, and that is the greatest gift that you’ll give to anyone else.” “That really is the greatest gift,” declares Skarda. “That you take the teachings and make them work.” www.festivalmedia.org THE BEST BUDDHIST CINEMA ON DVD A FILM BY MICHAEL H. WILSON FEATURING H.H. the 14 th Dalai Lama Academy Award® winner Martin Scorsese INTERVIEWS WITH the Tibetan cast Melissa Mathison Dante Ferretti Filmed on location in Morocco and India AT RETAILERS EVERYWHERE SEE THE TRAILER ONLINE THE INSIDE STORY OF THE MAKING OF KUNDUN 30 CHURCH STREET, BARNET, VERMONT 05821 samadhicushions.com 1.800.331.7751 A COMPLETE ONLINE SOURCE FOR MEDITATORS. SINCE 1975. 000582 582 582 5 00 AAARN RN RN TTT, BA BA BA i 3 VE VE VE 30303030 TRE TRE TREEEE CHU CHU CHURRRCCCHS HS HSTTT NT0 TT0 111 EEETTT MON MON MON Don’t just do somethinngg. Sit there. MEDITATION CUSHIONS MEDITATION BENCHES GONGS INCENSE MALAS MEDITATION TABLES BOOKS AND MEDIA BEGINNER SETS Sales support Karmê Chöling here in Vermont and other Shambhala Buddhist Centers worldwide.