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Buddhadharma : Fall 2017
fall 2017 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 53 practice When I trained in Tibet, I did so mostly in mountain retreats, in caves and in charnel grounds. What I practiced when I was in charnel grounds was bring- ing thoughts and appearances of demons to the path. Sometimes at night I had thoughts of demons and saw frightening demons, so I meditated on the true nature of that and that became my path. When I was living in the caves in the mountains, I trained in the self-liberation of all thoughts. I trained in recogniz- ing the true nature of the meeting of appearance and mind. In that way, the meeting of appearance and mind becomes self-liberated. Spring 2004 Attending to the Deathless by Ajahn Amaro The Buddha’s gentle gesture of touching the earth is a magnificent metaphor. It is saying that even though we might have this enlightened, free space inter- nally, it needs to be interfaced with the phenomenal world. Otherwise, there is no completion. This is why meditating with the eyes open is, in a way, such a useful bridge. We cultivate a vast internal space, but it is necessarily connected to the phenomenal world. If there is only an internal, subjective experience of enlightenment, we ‘re still caught. Mara’s army won’t retreat. The hassles are everywhere—the tax returns, the permits, the jealousies. We can see that they are empty, but they are still coming at us from all directions. But in reaching out to touch the earth, the Buddha recognized, yes, there is that which is transcendent and unconditioned. But humility demands not simply holding to the unconditioned and the transcendent. The Buddha recognized and acknowledged that “There is the conditioned. There is the sense world. There is the earth that makes up my body and my breath and the food that I eat.” That gesture of reaching out from the transcendent is saying, How could fully engaging with the sense world possibly corrupt the innate freedom of the heart? This freedom cannot be interrupted, corrupted, or confused by any sense experience. Therefore why not allow it all in? By openly, freely acknowledging the limited, the unlimited manifests its full potential. Winter 2003