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Buddhadharma : Summer 2010
and ancillary rules that have more to do with relating to the mores in a particular cultural context. The ancillary rules are more situational. It’s important, then, that we make a distinc- tion between the core integrities and those that we may change according to circumstances of time and place. Buddhadharma: Of all the rules, the prohibitions regarding sexual conduct cause some of the most confusion, since sexual mores seem so culturally based. aNdrew oleNdzki: Once again, it’s easier for the monks and nuns—celibacy is nonnegotiable, end of story. But for lay- people, there’s a sliding scale. One of the ways it was defined in the ancient world was that it’s inappropriate for a man to have sexual relations with a woman who’s under the protec- tion of another man, which of course meant “under protec- tion” of one’s father until marriage and then one’s husband afterwards. It basically outlawed or forbade premarital sex and extramarital sex. How you apply that today is differ- ent because so many of the cultural definitions are malleable. However, if we’re engaging in a sexual act in a way that inflicts real pain or humiliation or is exploitative, we can be pretty sure we’re on the unwholesome side of the continuum. But if we’re doing a sexual act with an attitude of generosity and loving-kindness, we’ll probably be in more wholesome areas of behavior. It’s not exactly what you do with whom as much as the quality of mind with which you’re approaching what you’re doing. NormaN Fischer: I would add that sexuality is very powerful and it’s a heavy karmic act, more than you might think in any Beyond BlAck And White A bodhisattva, says chögyam trungpa rinpoche, is not bound by traditional morality, but rather delights in the play between hesitation and impulsiveness. The traditional approach to being a good person is to eliminate all color, all spectacle. You camouflage yourself and blend into the social landscape; you become white. White is associated with purity, cleanliness, gentleness, presentableness. But to be an extraordinarily good citizen you need to add color to the basic white. To improve society you need some color to contrast with the white. So the bodhisattva is not bound by white, by law, by conven- tion, or by traditional morality, but neither does he kill someone on the spot because he feels some faint aggression toward him, nor does he make love to a woman on the street because he feels passion toward her. The conventional approach is to hesitate out of fear of embarrassment or a sense of impropriety or vice. “I shouldn’t do it, it’s wrong.” There is a faint suggestion and the rejection of the suggestion, which is depressing. “I wish I could, but society or my conscience does not permit me.” But perhaps there is something more to our hesitation; perhaps it is our basic sanity that keeps us from acting impulsively. Sanity lies somewhere between the inhibitions of conven- tional morality and the looseness of extreme impulse, but the area in-between is very fuzzy. The bodhisattva delights in the play between hesitation and extreme impulsiveness—it is beau- tiful to look at—so delight in itself is the approach of sanity. Delight is to open our eyes to the totality of the situation rather than siding with this or that point of view. The bodhisattva does not side with rejecting convention, mocking everything out of sheer frustration, trying to get the world to acknowledge him. Nor does he side with blind dogma, holding back out of fear, trying to mold the world to conform to rigid ideas and rules. The bodhisattva takes delight in polarities, but does not side with any extreme. He accepts what is there as the message and explores it further and further, and the conflict between polari- ties becomes his inspiration. From The Myth of Freedom, by Chögyam Trungpa, published by Shambhala Publications. buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly sPrinG 2 0 10 58 My Feelings, 2009 by Gary Taxali