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Buddhadharma : Spring 2014
12 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY SPRING 2 0 1 4 who you are. You are an ocean, not the small stream you imagine as self. The deity gives you a clear reflection of something true in you, something you may be totally unaware of. You’re learning to walk out of your own cage, to break the spell you’re under. No more sleeping beauty; here comes wakeful beauty. FROM INQUIRING MIND, FALL 2013 LIFE IS THE REAL RETREAT When you go on a retreat, say Robert Chodo Campbell and Koshin Paley Ellison, you may find some temporary relief from your problems. But the retreat that matters most awaits you back home. We’ve met so many dharma practitioners who are so sincere, doing retreat after retreat, and then they get home and act like assholes. Practice can be used, in some ways, as a shell. How do we realize it, embody it, so that it really is about every moment, about what happens when I leave the retreat? Who cares about Zen? This is a small retreat. Out in the world is a great retreat. Or maybe we could say, “It’s an awesome retreat.” We can get so caught in ourselves and then hope that maybe the dharma will become like a big babysitter and take care of us and make everything okay, or that a retreat will make us feel peaceful. We’re still thinking that the outside is not inside, that it’s only something from the outside that will come in and save the day like Iron Man or like Superman or The Avengers. Yet that’s not allowing our- selves to be fully in the world. The Buddha clearly stated that understanding and insight are up to us—that we can be amidst the world, flowing in the world, not separated. Retreats are very important. But the great retreat is in the midst of our lives, in our rela- tionships, walking down the street, ordering an espresso, falling down, stubbing your toe—those moments. FROM INSIGHT JOURNAL, NOVEMBER 2013 SITTING WITH YOUR PAIN If you experience physical pain while meditating, says Zarko Andricevic, give yourself permission to explore it— and to stretch your legs if you need to. Whenever pain arises, it’s usually because of tension in the body, or because we are just not used to long sittings. As we sit for a long time the muscles start to stretch, and as they stretch they bring this sensation of pain. Whenever this happens, first you should ignore it; just go back to the method. But if you can’t ignore it, if it becomes overwhelming, then you can turn toward the pain and just observe it for a while. Turn your mind toward the pain and don’t run away from it; look at it and come closer to it. Try to see what it is. What kind of pain is it? Is it sharp? Is it concentrated? Do you know what color it is? How does it look? Where does it arise? Is it constant or is it pulsating? Don’t give up immediately. If the pain does not subside—if it is still very strong and you can’t go back to the method and you can’t look at it anymore—then just relax your pos- ture, stretch your leg, and allow the pain to go away. Then come back into the sitting posture and continue. There is not much point in enduring pain. We are not here doing ascetic practices, tor- turing ourselves. If you are thinking continu- ously, “Oh I have to move, I shouldn’t move, I have to move, I shouldn’t move...” then you have moved already! Your mind already moved, so there is not much point holding this position and being in agony. FROM CHAN MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2013