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Buddhadharma : Fall 2005
fall 2005| 42 |buddhadharma as an applied practice in working with health care professionals, who are dealing with death and dying on a regular basis. They don’t need much background, and it opens up an incredibly awak- ened, tender experience for people. it’s very useful, but i agree that it isn’t the same as doing the full lojong practice. aLan waLLaCe: Just the same, one can teach shamatha outside of the whole framework of the buddhad- harma. People of all different types of belief systems find these decontextualized meditative practices very helpful. Yet, i remember someone asking the dalai lama years ago about the legitimacy of taking some Buddhist meditative practices out of the context of Buddhism and using them to reduce stress, without really acknowledging to the people who practiced them that these were Buddhist practices. The dalai lama’s response was that since the whole point of buddhadharma is to alleviate suffering, if you decontextualize some of the practices and they alle- viate suffering, that’s wonderful. But then he added, “don’t confuse that with buddhadharma.” in my experience, you need the view, the medi- tation practices, and then a whole way of life that goes along with that. Those three facets are pro- foundly interrelated, and integrating all three con- stitutes the practice of buddhadharma. Ken MCLeod: i have to confess, i balk a little bit at the phrase, “don’t confuse that with buddha- darma‚” as if there is some thing which is bud- dhadharma. rather than saying to people, “This is the path,” i’ve come to help them discover their own path by using the tools and perspectives and the context that i’ve been fortunate enough to receive. we may simply have a different orienta- tion toward teaching and training, rather than a substantive difference about what the dharma is. buddhadharMa: You all have said that these teach- ings have a certain direct appeal, and yet there’s quite a lot of depth and profundity here. The ultimate bodhicitta slogans at the beginning of the seven-point mind training, for example, can be quite challenging. investigating “the nature of We fear openness, the lack of reference points, particularly social reference points and connections. Taking the perspective of absolute bodhicitta – trusting in an awareness that is no thing – can be very intimidating. — Ken McLeod michAeldAVidmurphy