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Buddhadharma : Summer 2011
winter 2005| 24 |buddhadharma When Things Fall Apart, and she realized that the teaching related to our immediate experience. Doesn’t some problem like the one we’ve had tonight happen every day of your life in major and minor ways? Yet, for some reason, we keep thinking something has gone wrong. The Buddhist teachings are fabulous at simply working with what’s happening as your path of awakening, rather than treating your life experi- ences as some kind of deviation from what is sup- posed to be happening. The more difficulties you have, in fact, the greater opportunity there is to let them transform you. The difficult things provoke all your irritations and bring your habitual pat- terns to the surface. And that becomes the moment of truth. You have the choice to launch into the lousy habitual patterns you already have, or to stay with the rawness and discomfort of the situ- ation and let it transform you, on the spot. So, whoever had anything to do with whatever went awry tonight, thank you for providing us with this great opportunity to practice before we even started the event itself. Jack Kornfield: In the monastery where I trained, my teacher would gather us together and then he’d be waylaid for some reason or another. Without fail, disruptions would always occur that we would The Wondrous PaTh of difficulTies christinealicino Call it luck, good luck. This past May, a sellout crowd of over 3,000 people arrived at the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco to listen to a discussion with two of America’s most respected and beloved Buddhist teachers: Pema Chödrön and Jack Kornfield. Then, sud- denly, the center’s computer system went down, causing mass confusion at the ticket counters. But what might have seemed like a big problem on the surface, explain Chödrön and Kornfield, was in fact a great opportunity to practice the Buddhist teachings. Here is a portion of their conversation, moderated by KQED Public Radio host Michael Krasny. Michael Krasny: We haven’t had an easy time get- ting this event off the ground. I suppose we could look at all this as a good opportunity to find trans- formation within. Pema Chödrön: Yes, I think so. Difficulties are inevitable – and helpful. Once I was teaching a workshop at Omega Institute and everything went wrong. The organizers were tearing their hair out, and after all was said and done, they couldn’t understand why it turned out to be such a harmonious weekend. Then, one of the main organizers looked at the title of one of my books, a conversation with Pema chödrön and Jack Kornfield about the everyday difficulties that provoke us, reveal our habitual patterns, and ultimately transform us.