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Buddhadharma : Summer 2013
SUMMER 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 15 think this is a path that leads us someplace where we look like cherubs and have wings and no more pain, on this path, you begin to see that there is suffering in the world, and you see it more and more. As you become enlightened, you increas- ingly see how our choices perpetuate suffer- ing. An enlightened person wants to see every one of us get smarter about what escalates suffering, and what de-escalates it. And so this business of stepping more and more into groundlessness, or relaxing with groundless- ness, becomes something you wish for every- one. You begin to hear that message. Meditation is a process of transforma- tion, instead of a process of becoming more and more set in our ways. And, as you know, as we get older it’s very common to become increasingly fixed in our habits. But then you do meet people who, for some reason, are becoming more and more flexible and open as they age. Which kind of person do you want to be? Often the powerful moment of the spiri- tual journey is the moment when pain is get- ting very strong, and we feel we’ve met our edge and there’s no way to pretty it up. Usu- ally we think spiritual practice is about get- ting rid of that moment—but actually, that is the moment from which all the patterns of concretizing, of grasping, of spinning off into all these habits to try to get the ground under our feet—they all come out of that moment. So at that very moment, we can do something different. And by doing something different we can liberate ourselves. FROM HOW TO MEDITATE, PUBLISHED BY SOUNDS TRUE, MAY 2013 YOUR FATHER INSIDE Thich Nhat Hanh offers a student some unconventional advice for dealing with his troubled relationship with his father. Teenager: Dear Thay, dear Sangha, I suffer a lot from my father, and I don’t want to see him anymore. I’ve given him several chances to change. I have forced myself to go see him. Now I can’t. My question is, do I still have to try and change him, and try to go to him? Even though it is making me very tired? Thich Nhat Hanh: This is a very important question, and many of us have that question in our heart. The other person does not seem to change after our many attempts to help change him or her. Should we continue or not? In order to find the right answer, we have to look more deeply to see the relationship between us and the other person. Whether we are son and father, or daughter and mother, or partner and partner, if we have difficulty with the other person and we want to change him or her, the first thing we should do is to look deeply into ourselves and into that person, to see the relationship, the connection. Usually we think that the other person is outside of us. That is not right view. In this case, we think that our father is outside of us, and we need only to change the outside and not the inside. We need to see that our father is in us; our father is present in every cell of our body. We are the continuation of our father. It may be easier for us to change our father inside first, and we can do that twenty- four hours a day. You don’t need to go and