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Buddhadharma : Fall 2013
FALL 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 13 their practice becomes just another fashion statement intended to adorn their egos and make them feel important or part of a cool social tribe rather than tame and transform their minds. When practiced in this way, the Vajrayana path becomes worse than useless. Also, the Vajrayana teachings are “hid- den” in the sense that their meaning is not apparent to someone who has not received the appropriate teachings. It’s like a foreign language. Since some of the imagery and sym- bolism can seem strange or even violent to the uninitiated, it’s generally recommended to keep it hidden so that it doesn’t put off newer practitioners who might develop wrong views about the Buddhist path in general and the Vajrayana path in particular. While posting on social media, please bear in mind that you are not only posting for your own reading pleasure but to the whole wide world, and most people likely don’t share your amusement over crazy photos or your peculiar adoration and fantasies of certain personalities you call guru. FROM SIDDHARTHASINTENT.ORG, JANUARY 17, 2013 THE ROLE OF GOD IN BUDDHISM While it may seem heretical, the notion of God can actually be quite helpful for Buddhists, says Zen teacher and author Brad Warner. “There is no God and he is always with you” may sound like a simple non sequitur or a typical pointless Zen riddle. But it expresses the Zen point of view about God very suc- cinctly. Even though what you think of as God can’t possibly exist, there is a real spiri- tual dimension to this world. There is some- thing that can be called God. The thirteenth-century Zen master Dogen Zenji said, “We know that we ourselves are tools that it possesses within this universe in ten directions because the body and the mind both appear in the universe, yet neither is our self.” The word translated here as “it” is the Chinese word inmo, which refers to the ineffable substratum of reality, the ground of all being and nonbeing. To me, this is just another way of saying God. I feel it’s useful to speak in terms of God because we need to draw attention to the fact that Zen concerns something that is at once very ordinary and very personal and very big and very important. Zen says that both the materialistic and the spiritual view are incomplete and mis- taken, that we are neither body nor mind, that our actual reality cannot be defined in such narrow terms. Even the word God is too limiting. Or as Dogen says, “Even the whole universe in ten directions is just a small part of the supreme truth.” The supreme truth is, to me, another name for God. FROM THERE IS NO GOD AND HE IS ALWAYS WITH YOU, PUBLISHED BY NEW WORLD LIBRARY, JULY 2013 WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD Contrary to popular opinion, says abbot Ajahn Amaro, the monastery is a great place to experience the real world. “What does a Buddhist monk know about the real world anyway?” It’s a common ques- tion because there’s a sense of the monastery being an isolated sanctuary where we say, “Goodbye cruel world,” then come into our beautiful sacred space and suddenly we’re spiritual. That’s a bit of a sweeping general- ization, but it’s often the way people think. What is a monastery, anyway? What is the purpose of a sanctuary like Abhayagiri and