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Buddhadharma : Summer 2005
summer 2005| 8 |buddhadharma practitioners see as favorable. There is another side, however, to burning incense and candles: use can be hazardous to one’s health. (See story in The Washington Post, november 23, 2004, p. A19). Personally, I am unable to participate in teachings where incense or candles are used because I experience a deep burning sensa- tion in my lungs when I inhale the smoke. While I realize that Buddhadharma is not a health magazine, I urge you to include an article on its hazards in a future edition. The focus might be on what is the middle ground between honoring the tradition of burning incense and candles and protect- ing practitioners’ health, particularly the health of our teachers who sit right in the middle of this stuff for hours on end. Ed Thomas Fayetteville, Pa. AlOnG THE BOTTOM of the arti- cle “Translating the Dharma” in the Winter 2004 issue is a timeline showing significant developments in the trans- lation of Buddhist texts. All traditions except the Pure land are represented. For a magazine that claims to speak to “practitioners of all traditions,” this is an egregious omission. After the pre- miere issue of Buddhadharma, Pure land schools have not been represented in any meaningful way in your pages at all. Instead, each issue is more or less evenly divided between articles representing Zen, vajrayana, and Insight/Theravada schools. The regular feature “Ask the Teachers” reflects this division. In the United States, Pure land practi- tioners of all schools outnumber adherents of Zen, vajrayana, and Theravada/Insight combined. Since the majority of peo- ple who follow the Pure land way are Chinese-American, Japanese-American, and vietnamese-American, I can’t help but conclude that Euro-American ethno- centricity is at work here. However unin- tentional, quiet omission is still a form of prejudice. Richard Modiano Mar Vista, Calif. FIRST, lET ME SAY that I was stunned and pleased at the beauty and depth of the essays and interviews in my first issue of Buddhadharma (Winter 2004). depression. Some patients are predisposed to develop a seasonal affective depression during the darker months of the year. Sustained, closed-lid meditative prac- tices can make such a condition worse by reducing the amount of light energies that normally stimulate the brain. As a purely practical matter, some degree of “open- eyed” meditation is recommended. (P.S. The important differences between hav- ing the eyes open and closed are discussed further in Zen and the Brain, published in 1998 by MIT Press, summarized in table 19 on page 582.) James H. Austin, M.D. Moscow, Idaho FROM THE TITlE onward, the article “Give and You Shall Receive” by Reginald Ray [Spring 2005] is rife with the notion that by giving one will receive some type of spiritual blessings or attainment. To quote Ray: “As in the early tradition, the person who gives – here the bodhisatt- va – receives great spiritual benefit.” Actually, the notion of spiritual gain is one of the greatest impediments on the path. The idea and desire for spiritual gain will lead to greater entrenchment in ego. Many seekers have stumbled along the way and find their practice stultified due to this mistake. To be able to give without any notion of gain is the correct effort. To practice “no gaining idea” and “no goal-seeking mind” is the moment-to-moment way of Zen. On or off the cushion, any idea of personal gain is just a reinforcement of the delusion of a separate self. True giving is a realization of selflessness. True giving of all of one’s self is to lose the self and realize oneness. Give with your whole heart and being, and there will be nothing standing in the way of realization. As the Heart Sutra says, “no Attainment with nothing to Attain.” I realize that many beginning medita- tion students approach practice with the idea and desire for some kind of spiritual attainment. Hopefully, they will meet a true teacher along the way that will show them the way of “no gain.” Bradly J. Keller, M.D. Albuquerque, N. Mex. “THE TRAGEDY of Water and Ice” in the Spring 2005 issue presents the use of burn- ing incense in a light that most Buddhist ➤ continued page 17 Waking Up to What You Do A Zen Practice for Meeting Every Situation with Intelligence and Compassion Diane Eshin Rizzetto Foreword by Charlotte Jō ko Beck “An excellent description of what Buddhist practice is fundamen- tally about. Diane Rizzetto knows this terrain extremely well. She has lived and practiced it her whole life; her methods, insights, and anecdotes invite readers to do the same. All who read this practical and substan- tive teaching will be greatly encouraged and inspired!” — Lewis Richmond, author of Wo rk as a Spiritual Practice “An outstanding, fresh, creative, and much needed commentary on the Buddhist precepts. A gem of a book; relevant for all schools of buddhadharma.” — Larry Rosenberg, author of Breath by Breath Shambhala Publicat ions To order call (888) 424-2329 or visit www.shambhala.com Visit our website to receive a 20% discount on this and many other books. $21.95hardcover