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Buddhadharma : Summer 2005
summer 2005| 26 |buddhadharma we must cut through self-clinging. Until we do, self-clinging will define our relationship with the world, whether it be the inner world of our own mind or the world outside of us. From the perspective of the self, the world is either for us or against us. If it is for us, its purpose is to feed our infinite attachments. If it is against us, it is to be rejected and adds to our infinite para- noia. It is either our friend or our enemy, some- thing to lure or reject. The stronger we cling to a self, the stronger grows our belief in a solid, objec- tive world that exists separate from us. The more we see it as solid and separate, the more the world haunts us: we are haunted by what we want from the world, and we are haunted by our struggle to protect ourselves from it. The many problems we see in the world today, and also encounter in our own personal lives, spring from the belief that the enemy or threat is “outside” of us. This split occurs when we forget how deeply connected we are to others and the world around us. This is not to say that mind and the phenomenal world are one and that everything we experience is a mere figment of our imagina- tion. It simply means that what we believe to be a self, and what we believe to be other than self, are inextricably linked, and that, in truth, the self can only exist in relation to other. Seeing them as sep- arate is really the most primitive way of viewing and engaging our lives. To see the connectedness, or interdependence, of all things is to see in a big way. It reduces the artificial separation we create between the self and everything else. For instance, when we hold tightly to a self, the natural law of impermanence looms as a threat to our existence. But when we accept that we are part of this natural flow, we begin to see that the entity we cling to as a static, immutable, sTeveheynen