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Buddhadharma : Spring 2016
spring 2 0 1 6 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 23 experiences become rich compost for the maturing of our practice and, instead of remaining obstacles, become the doorways to the experiences that nurture us and others. I wrote a four- line prayer to dedicate the merit of a session of meditation practice; the final line of this prayer is, “In liberating my own being, may I benefit others.” It is important to be reminded that as we care for others, we cannot bypass our own suffering, and when the self who suffers is met fully with both wis- dom and compassion, liberation is the result. In liberation, qualities such as love, compassion, joy, and equanimity become abundantly available for the benefit of everyone. sallie Jiko tisdale: A few months ago, a student told me about her commit- ment to taking care of herself. I asked her about selflessness, and I reminded her of the Jataka Tales—the stories of the past lives of the Buddha, in which he sacrifices himself again and again for the sake of others. But if she had told me that she was committed to self- less sacrifice, I might have pointed her toward taking better care of herself. In fact, we need to know how to do both of these things and allow both impulses to arrive naturally—without guilt or resentment. Compassion has a natural form. In Dogen’s words, compassion can be like the hand reaching for the pillow in the night. It happens without thought; we respond spontaneously to conditions. We all do this—reaching to hold a door open for a person carrying packages, bending down to help a person who has fallen. We don’t stop to think. We Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org just reach out. But there is also a con- scious and relative compassion that we undertake. We think, I choose to help this person. To help another person deliberately requires you to be aware of your own limits. You have limits—this is a simple fact. You have only so much stamina and strength, and you have needs and stress of your own. Are you honest with your partner? Surely he or she is aware of your resentment in some way—we are less hidden than we think. Admit to your confusion: I feel fortunate and I resent refer to the same situation. Tell your partner what’s going on. This is a kind of generosity. The pre- cepts urge us to be generous with self. This doesn’t only mean giving our time and energy. It also means giving our truth. Real intimacy arises out of shar- ing our authentic selves. What can’t you do? What can you do? Where is it reasonable to get help? What do you need for yourself? Work at creating a life together that works for both of you. This will require compro- mise and generosity on both sides. You wonder why there is little joy here. We live as both relative and abso- lute beings. There is a great joy available to us that can arise in all conditions, the universal joy of our true nature. But most of the time, we are meeting as one person to another, moment by moment. The joy that comes from help- ing others is dependent on conditions. It is a human happiness that comes from our relative separateness. When we can cross the barrier of the self to meet another person in a heartfelt, authen- tic way, the particular joy of intimacy arises. When you are able to bring nonjudgmental awareness and warmth to your own suffering, you are able to do this in the presence of another’s suffering. —tenzin wangyal rinpoche A YeAr to remember 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the rochester Zen Center. Since 1966 thousands of Zen aspirants have practiced in rochester, first with the late roshi Philip Kapleau and now with roshi bodhin Kjolhede. • ALL PreSeNt AND Former memberS Are JoYFULLY INVIteD to tHe CeLebrAtIoNS 50th Commemorative Weekend at Arnold Park and Chapin mill July 1-3, 2016 50th Anniversary Lecture by Jon Kabat-Zinn in rochester october 15, 2016 For details: rzc.org