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Buddhadharma : Winter 2013
WINTER 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 17 At first my mind went to a scene in the television show Arrested Development, where the patriarch of the family has ended up in jail and is being courted for membership by all of the various prison gangs. At one point he looks to his son and softly says, “I feel like the prettiest girl at the dance.” I believe that exploring various Buddhist communities can sometimes feel that way. Each group wants to be receptive. They want you to walk in and feel comfortable there. They want you to enjoy your time there so that, ideally, you will feel encouraged in your meditation practice. They are not going to show you their ugly underbelly in your ini- tial visit. “Let me introduce you to one of our senior students, Chris. He’s an alcoholic who might hit on you.” That just doesn’t happen. Instead of quoting Arrested Development, though, I responded to this woman’s question by suggesting that she listen to her intuition. At the core under our neuroses is basic good- ness. When you are in tune with your basic goodness, it is like having a little voice whis- per in your ear, guiding you toward virtuous activity. It is an instrument of discernment, letting you know whether a particular job opportunity or romantic idea is good for you. It is the compass for your intuition. I often encourage people to explore as many different Buddhist communities as they can. I myself was raised within the Shambhala tradition but took the time to explore other religious traditions and then a number of lin- eages within Buddhism before coming back and understanding that Shambhala is where I feel most at home. The idea of coming home in this sense is not about going to the Buddhist organiza- tion that most encourages you to kick back and put your feet up. It is about getting to know a community of practitioners, hearing the dharma with an open mind, and seeing if it lands in your heart; it’s about testing the mettle of the dharma and seeing how it applies to your life. FROM WALK LIKE A BUDDHA, PUBLISHED BY SHAMBHALA PUBLICATIONS, OCTOBER 2013 WATCHED POTS DO BOIL Mitra Dean Lee Worley on the virtue of patience. My mother was a staunch New Englander who always underscored her discipline with little maxims. It must have been how she her- self was raised. One I recall is, “A watched pot never boils.” I believe she used it to quell my impatience, encouraging me to allow things to happen without trying to hurry them along. Was I ever someone who hurried things? I do remember watching pots on the stove to see if this statement was true, but I don’t recall ever having the triumph of proving the slogan incorrect. Grown-up me knows bet- ter than to think that it is my watching that prevents the boiling. I sense a dharmic interpretation of this old saw. Seen through Shantideva’s eyes, this might be an excellent slogan. Applying mind- ful attention to the volatility and suffering of life, attend to this stew carefully when things are heating up so they don’t boil over into anger. When we watch our pots with care, spills become fewer and fewer. Shantideva, in his last verse on patience in The Way of the Bodhisattva, makes this promise: For patience in samsara brings such things As beauty, health, and good renown. Its fruit is great longevity, The vast contentment of a universal king. For me the paramita of patience serves as a cool breeze to counter flare-ups of my anger. It’s a gentle whisper to me that I have what it takes to bear with my suffering. And it’s a kiss from my meditation practice that leads me to the nature of my mind. FROM NALANDABODHI FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER (CANADA), SEPTEMBER 2013