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Buddhadharma : Fall 2010
17 FALL 2 01 0 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly you see. But if you want to be able to write excellently, write very precisely in fine callig- raphy, then it takes quite a lot of practice and quite a lot of effort. Again, because you’re just using lines, to be expressive you have to be very precise—this is how calligraphy can be a way to cultivate the mind. For example, if you start to write calligraphy when your mind is unsettled with a lot of emotions, you can see right away that the characters will not look pretty. What you write is almost the very expression of your state of mind. However, writing calligraphy practice can actually be a way to harmonize mind and body. So in that way it can be a practice in itself. On the one hand it’s an expression of a state of mind, and on the other it’s a method of practice. It’s a great hobby. You can set aside the time to write calligraphy and use this hobby to harmonize the mind. But if you really want to have excellent and fine calligra- phy, that will take quite a lot of practice and quite a lot of work. From an interview with ven. chi chern by buFFe laFFey in Chan magazine, sPring 2010 iT isn’T enough To be mindFuL There’s a lot of talk these days about the benefits of mindfulness, but as Bhante Henepola Gunaratana reminds us, mindfulness alone won’t give rise to enlightenment. You may have heard that you should be mind- ful all the time, whether you are at home or in the office, or on the bus or in your car, and so on. You may interpret this advice to mean that you should keep your mind focused all the time on your breath, but this may lead to problems. If you simply keep your mind on the breath while driving your car, you will probably get into accidents from not paying sufficient attention to driving. Some of you may think that “to be mindful all the time” means to pay attention only to whatever you are doing at a particular time, but this is just what those who are seriously paying attention to their work normally do. A painter, writer, singer, composer, hunter, surgeon, cook, etc., must pay full attention to whatever they do when they are engaged in their work. Not only human beings do this. Cats pay total attention to their prey in order to catch them without startling the prey beforehand. Cranes stand still in one spot for a long time, ready to catch a fish that swims by. Sheep dogs pay total attention to the movements of sheep so they can run very quickly to direct the herd in the right direc- tion. Unfortunately neither cat, nor crane, nor sheep dog cultivate an iota of insight; they don’t remove the unwholesome roots of greed, hatred, and delusion by merely paying total attention to objects. Just paying full attention to whatever you are doing at any time is not going to eliminate the unwholesome roots, which is the purpose of insight meditation. Paying attention to just one thing is what is done in concentra- tion meditation: you may focus your mind on one single object for fifty years, yet the causes for the mental defilements will still remain unchanged in your mind. nickLu