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Buddhadharma : Spring 2015
30 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly spring 2 0 1 5 ham sandwiches. Ask yourself, too, what is the result of your sitting meditation? How does it affect your mind and body and the society around you? These are things we can contemplate. It’s simple but very important to see what works and what doesn’t work. We don’t always realize when we make mistakes, so the trick is to make as few mistakes as possible and not to make the same mistakes again and again. Yet sometimes we have this blindness, and we don’t see why we have suffering in our lives. Ignorance blinds us. What can we do? Wherever there is suffer- ing or confusion, we can begin to look at that pat- tern in our lives. If we look at this whole pattern, we can discover the causes of suffering and generate the intention not to allow those causes to repeat. Let’s say I’m a person who is always making wisecracks. Maybe I watch people cringe and begin to notice that no one likes me, so I end up hating myself. Then I reflect on how this kind of speech brings me remorse and regret and brings other people suffering. Finally, I see that’s the result. So what can I do? Sometimes this teaching of letting go can sound like complacent acceptance. I might get angry and punch someone in the nose and say to myself, “I’m an angry person—that’s just the way it is!” But that’s not what we mean by letting go. There is training to be done. Training (bhavana) is the second aspect of com- mitment, and it requires effort. Two points that I find helpful to notice in training are intention and cause and effect. We can always reflect upon cause and effect, asking, for example, “How long have I been practicing, and what’s the result? Am I more at ease with life than I was ten years ago? Or am I more uptight?” If I’m more uptight, then I need to consider my practice; if I’m more at ease, then I should also consider my practice. So we look at cause and effect, asking simply, “What is the result of the way I live my life?” We don’t cast judgment, saying, “There I go, getting angry again.” That kind of attitude is not reflective. Instead, notice the way you speak—what’s the result of that? Or notice the way you consume the objects of the sense world, whether it’s ideas in books or © elena elisseeva | DREAMSTIME.COM