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Buddhadharma : Spring 2006
buddhadharma| 11 |spring 2006 2005] was one of the best I’ve read. If you ever offer it online, let me know so that I can forward it to others. Ellen Laura Sedona, Ariz. I WOULD like to respond to a short arti- cle in the First Thoughts section of the Winter 2005 issue. The article is titled “An American Monk in Japan,” by Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler. On the one hand, I understand the author’s fascination with wanting to know firsthand the origins of Japanese Zen by experiencing it directly. On the other hand, the telling of the tale exposes a fundamental question regarding Zen practice, and other forms of practice as well. Jiryu clearly describes the extreme rigors of Zen practice he witnessed at the monastery in Japan, including the graphic description of “a monk whose hands and ears were deformed from the extreme winter cold of the unheated temple.” The question begged is this: Do the rigors of such practice, with extreme Elements of the Sacred Elemental Imagery by Michael Ash Original Photographs Worldwide ~ Journeys Into One Ta ste ~ www.sacredelements.com firstname.lastname@example.org :: 808-345-9743 Limited & Open Edition Fine Art Prints Printed on Exquisite Tree Free Wa tercolor Papers India :: Nepal :: Ladakh :: Thailand :: Japan :: Australia :: Hawaii :: South Africa Israel :: Indonesia :: Taiwan :: Lesotho Custom Prints & Cards Image Licensing ~ Commissions ~ Five Percent of Profits Donated to Tibetan Causes forms of self-abnegation, actually lead one any closer to enlightenment and becoming a buddha? I feel this is a ques- tion that needs to be asked over and over. In fact, every practitioner of Zen or any other tradition should ask them- selves this fundamental question: How is it that the practice itself brings one any closer or further away from the primary goal? Bradly J. Keller Albuquerque, N. Mex. WE WOuLd LIkE TO THaNk the following people and organizations for their assistance with this issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly: Ajahn Amaro • Ahimsako Bhikkhu • Marlies Bosch • Doug Burgess • Mary Griggs Burke Collection • Don Farber • Ahna Fender • Gyano Gibson • Tom Haar • Steve Heynen • Lorne Ladner • Sumi Loundon • Mandala Publishing • Mary Ellen McCourt • Cynthia Moku • Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation • Keiko Uchiyama • Marcy Vaughn • Barbara Wenger • Tom Wright • a while, and he’s still doing zazen in the Tusita heaven and is only half way there. Zazen is the Dao; true serenity is the goal and is eminently reachable at intervals, but don’t suppose you are, or even can be, equal to a bamboo grove or a simple pool of water. “Always leave boiled rice out for mice and keep lamps dark out of pity for moths.” The ancients had this sort of concern, and it’s really the whole point of life, generation after generation. Without it, one can only be called a blockheaded carcass. Of which there are many in this world, unfortunately for mice and moths, and also for people and their babies. The whole point of life is this kind of con- cern, and without it there will soon be no life at all. In the race to the bottom, who will win? Not only has the emperor no clothes, he is a changeling, and not one of us at all. Surely it’s high time for us to remember our legacy and stand up for decency. ➤ continued from page 5