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Buddhadharma : Spri 2007
spring 2007| 6 |buddhadharma is a serious detriment. For liberation to occur, there must be a radical relinquish- ment in the depths of the psyche. In tra- ditional Buddhist practice, the idea of samsara as an endlessly repeated wheel of futility makes this possible. On the other hand, if this one existence is all we have, it gives a poignancy and an importance to the mundane reality, making it impos- sible to renounce at the level required. It is important to bear in mind that we are talking about very subtle movements of the mind at a very profound depth, and at that place the smallest obstacle may be an enormous hindrance. Although belief in karma and rebirth is often thought of as the distinguishing factor between traditional and redefined Buddhism, it is actually a secondary issue. The real nub is the attitude toward the third noble truth. The goal of Bud- dhism has always been realization of the unconditioned (nibbana or nirvana.) There is no place for an unconditioned element in a materialist (or indeed in an eternalist) worldview. If this is missing, Buddhist teaching is completely lacking in its most profound aspect. This is evi- dent if one examines the writings of the “agnostic Buddhists.” The goal is shifted from transcendence of samsaric existence to reconciliation with it – a goal that has been compared to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. As a last note, it could be said that for the puthujjana (one who has not yet glimpsed for herself the unconditioned), this is the one place in Buddhist teach- ing where the faculty of faith (saddha) is absolutely indispensable. Because all our language and thought belongs to the conditioned realm, the unconditioned can never be imagined or arrived at by reason. Even for one who has realized it, it cannot be explained. For one who has not, it must be taken on faith. WE WOUlD lIkE TO THANk the following people for their assistance with this issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly: Ajahn Amaro • Billy Blob • Frank Charlton • Lorca Cohen • Binh Danh • Michelle Gray • Haines Gallery/Nicole Miller • Jokei Kyodo • Michael Newhall • Pace Wildstein/Joisan Decker • Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison • Peter Seidler • Dianna Smith • Kiki Smith EXPERIENCE A PERSONAL RETREAT AT THE FOREST REFUGE • Come for a week or stay for a year – open all year round • Follow your own schedule – supported by talks, personal teacher interviews and access to a dharma library • Beautiful new facility nestled in secluded woodlands • All private dorm rooms, nourishing meals and tranquil surroundings A self-sustaining practice is necessary to undertake a Forest Refuge retreat. INSIGHT MEDITATION SOCIETY For application information visit www.dharma.org or call (978) 355-2063 Freedom with Support Project3 12/19/06 2:13 PM Page 1 STIllFROMTHEFIlMReddooRsBYGEORGIAlEE(SEEPAGE95)