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Buddhadharma : Winter 2017
68 Buddhadharma: The PracTiTioner's QuarTerly in fact the entryway into seeing the dis- satisfactory nature of life in samsara. But when we move into the bodhisattva’s way of seeing, we train our mind to see others’ dukkha—any of the three kinds of dukkha—as if it were our own, to the degree that as much as we find our own dukkha unbearable, we find other beings’ dukkha unbearable. My concern with Buddhism in the West is that there’s some block to really looking deeply at what dukkha means. People want light and love and bliss. Many people come to Buddhism to achieve a better psychological state and feel better about themselves, and that’s fine—we can help them on that level. But that’s not the depth to which the Bud- dha’s teachings go. If we don’t spend time considering what dukkha is, then we won’t seek liberation and awaken- ing. Instead, we’ll use the dharma only to make our samsaric life a little bit bet- ter. That’s one of my fears for Buddhism in the West, that we lose the liberating aspect of the dharma. Buddhadharma: So how can we work most effectively with dukkha? Konin Cardenas: In Zen, there’s a strong emphasis on our ability to directly encounter whatever states of body and mind present themselves, to learn how to find our groundedness within what arises, relinquishing both aversion and attrac- tion. So one way of beginning to address dukkha is simply learning the stability of mind, the ability to be present with mind and body. Once practitioners are able to do that, then they begin to explore how it is that the activity within their lives is actually driving the arising and falling away of these very states of body and mind. That’s when we begin to under- stand the teachings about “your face before your parents were born” or “drop- ping off body and mind,” teachings that point at something more fundamental than the psychological study of the self; we begin to see the self as interdependent arising. That self is in harmony with the state of things as they are; when the state of conditions is like this, they must be that way. marK unno: Shin Buddhism places a great emphasis on how the awareness of suffering—and therefore also the aware- ness of great compassion, mahakaruna— arises within the individual mind. Great compassion, which is an expression of the dharmakaya, of the cosmic buddha body or the highest truth of emptiness, embraces and ultimately dissolves suffer- ing. It can arise within the individual but does not come from the individual. For that reason, we call it “other power,” as it does not derive from the ego but rather is unconditioned. BhiKKhu Bodhi: The general prescrip- tion the Buddha offered to the problem of dukkha through the four noble truths is the noble eightfold path, within which we find specific methods for working with different aspects of dukkha. For example, when we experience the dukkha of bodily feeling, the most appropriate way to deal with it is to observe the bodily feelings from the position of nonidentification. Instead of taking the feelings to be mine, thereby intensifying them and then seek- ing escape from them by indulging in