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Buddhadharma : Winter 2010
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly winter 2 0 10 66 I think one can cultivate the habit of focusing so much on flaws that one fails to see what is good in things.” Every dimension of our lives— personal and professional, even our mis- cellaneous list of “likes” and “dislikes” — is saturated with maana. From our earliest years of receiving grades that measure our academic progress to the promotions we strive for in our jobs, maana is an activity we engage in every minute of every day. If we did not do this measuring in the realm of conventional reality, we would be unable to function socially or practice “right effort” when we see our discipline becoming lax. But maana can be spiritu- ally damaging to others and ourselves (I’m thinking of an interview in which the Dalai Lama was asked, “How shall we deal with self-hatred?” He found the question so confounding—almost an oxymoron for a Buddhist who knows an enduring “self” is an illusion—that he asked the interviewer to explain what in the world “self-hatred” could possibly mean); and it is at odds with the pre- cepts that we “Do not speak of others’ errors and faults” and “Do not elevate self and blame others.” Fortunately, in the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta (“Great Discourse on the Estab- lishing of Awareness”) the Buddha offers an antidote for maana that I have found to be infallible: namely, “contem- plating mind as mind... mind-objects as mind-objects.” The mind, being the exotic phenomenon that it is, churns out thoughts and feelings 24/7 that are wholesome and unwholesome, kind and unkind. We have to sit patiently with this extraordinarily colorful mind (and ourselves). All manner of thoughts and memories arise: “That hurts,” or “That was nice”; “I’m great,” or “I’m a loser”; or as we read in the Dhammapada, “He abused me; he beat me; he defeated me; he robbed me.” We do not judge these thoughts and feelings, or ourselves for having them. We don’t embrace them or run from them. We simply let them be, observing how—like all impermanent things—they are ephemeral, transitory, like bubbles in a stream, rising and Like a great river, the dharma is deep and wide. Because the dharma addresses the deepest questions of life, we publish Buddhadharma for those pursuing a long-term practice and study of Buddhism. Because it benefits a wide range of people, we offer a Buddhist inspired perspective on all the important issues of life today in the Shambhala Sun. And for those who may not be looking for a new religion or philosophy but want to bring the scientifically-proven benefits of meditation into their lives, we are launching our important new initiative, Mindful: Living with Awareness and Compassion. The Shambhala Sun Foundation is devoted to serving the dharma fully, in both its depth and breadth. Your contribution will enable us to fulfill this important mission—to help the dharma put down deep and genuine roots in the West, and bring its wisdom and practice to all who need it. To donate online, go to www.shambhalasun.com/donate. Or you can call toll-free at 1-877-422-8404 ext. 36, or mail your contribution to Shambhala Sun, 1426 Pearl St., Ste. 420, Boulder, CO, 80302- 5340, or in Canada to Shambhala Sun, 1660 Hollis St., Ste. 701, Halifax NS B3J 1V7 SHAMBHALA SUN FOUNDATION An independent, nonprofit corporation. Publishers of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. Buddhadharma THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY SHAMBHALA SUN BUDDHISM CULTURE MEDITATION LIFE Help Us Serve the Dharma