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Buddhadharma : Summer 2014
58 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY SUMMER 2 0 1 4 around who can teach him how to get free. If I don’t have it, where can I find it? And when told that there is and where he can be found, Bahiya immediately and without hesitation goes to find him. He doesn’t ask how much this new guy might charge him for lessons or whether there is a monthly fee to join the sangha. He doesn’t wait to collect a retinue to carry his stuff or go and get things in just the right order for his depar- ture. Bahiya drops everything and literally runs toward the truth, toward the Enlightened One. There is urgency, a complete and unhesitating commitment to one thing and one thing only: freedom. Each and every one of us has some of this “Bahiya energy” in us to know and actualize. One of the dangers in a teaching like this is that it is easy for us to create an ideal for our life of practice, on and off the cushion, which only separates us further from our daily reality; we can simply construct another target to shoot at and miss. Maybe it is unwise or even destructive for us to “drop everything,” but we can look more closely at the attachments we have that we so often vigorously and mindlessly cultivate. Perhaps we become a bit more honest, less will- ing to fool ourselves and those we care about. We can challenge the rationalization that we’re sitting enough or don’t really need retreat prac- tice, or that our drinking is not really a problem. Maybe we begin to wonder why we’re walking slowly toward the truth of being alive in this moment instead of running toward it full tilt like Bahiya. We can question what this truth really is and what we are willing to sacrifice for it. Is truth a thing to be “found” in an imagined future, as Bahiya believed, or is freedom something always and only available now, right where we are? Running toward the truth of our life with full commitment may not mean going somewhere or attaining something we imagine we don’t already have. It may be about a willingness to turn directly into this moment, in this place, and dis- cover that what is most true is very close indeed. Could it be that the journey “there” begins and ends right here and now in this moment, com- pletely outside of time? Setting up some ideal and striving to attain it in an imagined future just creates conflict in PHOTO | FRÉDÉRIC VILLEMURE