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Buddhadharma : Winter 2015
winter 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 21 such as butchery, because of their coarsening effects. He exhorted people to leave behind a busy social life and obligations that distract or confuse. I really believe that time spent in retreat is important. The relationships formed in a sangha can be of great benefit. Material simplicity and routine allow us to develop a regular habit of medi- tation and reflection. These help create the environment in which we come to terms with ourselves and our karmic preoccupation and confusion. All of this is helpful, but only because it allows our natural enlightenment to be more trans- parent to us. Such a life is not limited to ordained people. There are great advantages to lay practice. There is no hiding from one’s karmic triggers, no way to avoid the hard choices of living among the sen- tient beings of the world. There is no better place to find out if the lessons of zazen and study have borne fruit than to go to the workplace and come home to care for a family. I can think of no place where the spacious view of the self will be of more use to ease the suffering of the world than in the midst of the world. It is wrong to think that anything is lacking in you or your potential, or that any thing is necessary for enlightenment. We will feel an urge to describe and qualify enlightenment, because the inex- pressible is not something we grasp with our minds. Remember that any external quality is just another kind of change. Can enlightenment require mutable conditions? To say so is to denigrate enlightenment. It needs no particular practices or ceremonies, does not look a particular way, and does not require a certain lifestyle. Don’t think you are on one side or the other of a path to enlightenment, that enlightenment is something you obtain or achieve, that enlightenment is prom- ised to some and not others, that a par- ticular way of life is required. We are all held in the promise of enlightenment. send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org NEW ! The Stupa Meditation Timer A handmade wooden timer to inspire your practice with several gong chimes and an SD card entry to play your favourite guided meditations and teachings. www.gongtimers.com NEW !