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Buddhadharma : Spring 2008
buddhadharma| 13 |spring 2008 whatever I do makes the situation worse.” this doesn’t mean you’re eliminating that person from the count of those beings who are close to you. With wisdom and compassion working together, feelings of empathy and commiseration are built on the strength of valid realization of the nature of persons and things, and analytical intelligence is warm to the feelings of both oneself and others. for the time being, these two sides have to balance each other, but in the end they are so intertwined that they are indistinguishable. Other-concern makes happy sense. From a truthful heart: Buddhist PraCtiCes for ConneCting with others, BY jeFFreY hopkins. puBlisheD BY snoW lion, 2008. the future is noW Thich Nhat Hanh explains that when we practice meditation properly, we live every moment in the Pure Land. the future is made up of only one substance, and that is the present. If you know how to take care of the present with all your heart, you are doing everything you can for the future. thinking and dreaming about the future does not take a long time—you don’t need twenty-four hours to dream about it! You only need one or two minutes, and that’s fine. meditation means you have to be present in the present moment. If the body is here but the mind is wandering elsewhere, in that moment you’re not present—you’re not present for your- self, and you’re not present for your husband, your wife, your children, your brothers or sisters, your nation, or your people. that is the opposite of meditation. Being present in the present moment means you are not being imprisoned by the past or SERgEBlOCH as, “my teacher should make it easier. this prac- tice session is too long; I want it to end sooner. It’s not convenient when the teachings start at 7:30, I want them to start at 7:00”; or “my teacher should tell more jokes and be more entertaining,” recognize them as complaining mind, not dharma mind, and let them go. From guided Meditations on the stages of the Path, BY ThuBTen choDron. puBlisheD BY snoW lion, 2007. alWays crying Jeffrey Hopkins explains why we needn’t feel over- whelmed by the suffering of others. there was a bodhisattva whose name was always Crying because he was so concerned about the plight of sentient beings. the story is told to show how much reflecting on the suffering of other beings can impact on you. still, the point is to develop a better mind, and if in the process of doing so you become full of worry, how can you help other sentient beings? there is a difference between intelligent concern and worry. We often falsely associate concern with unbridled worry; we fancy that compassion neces- sarily turns us into blithering idiots. We refuse to open ourselves to great compassion because we associate it with something with which it need not be associated. However, when we realize why people suffer, we can see that at least some of their pain can be eliminated, and if it can be, then it is most touching that they suffer unnecessarily. With this understanding as background, we can allow ourselves to be moved by others’ pain. In this way, realization of the emptiness of a misconceived sense of inherent existence is a cause for the generation of compassion. If you begin to understand the causes of wandering in cyclic exis- tence, the causes of anguish, you get a sense that these can be eliminated, for it is through an error of mind that these sufferings take place. It is dif- ficult to generate the conviction that all suffering is caused by such error, but you can generate the conviction that at least some of it is. When you see how deep the misconception of inherent existence is, when you see how per- vasive its effects are, you can see how, from this one small error, huge problems are produced. It is really poignant. But because there is a way out, we can allow ourselves to open up to deep feelings of commiseration. still, being moved does not necessarily entail external action right now. Within constant com- passion, you can make more intelligent decisions about whether it’s better to keep interacting with the person or whether it’s better to quietly get out the door, or to ask the other person to get out the door. “for the time being, right now, it seems that