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Buddhadharma : Winter 2007
buddhadharma| 23 |winter 2007 But it’s not just a question of seeing impermanence more clearly; we need to develop a wise relationship with imperma- nence in our daily lives. A wise relation- ship includes the development of sadha, meaning trust or confidence. In this case, it is the confidence that whatever the con- ditions may be, we will be able to respond with intelligence and kindness. Just as in metta (loving-kindness) practice, we wish good health for our- selves and others because it is a blessing in life. At the same time, we are aware that things are the way they are. Thus we bring loving-kindness and equanim- ity together. A line in a T. S. Eliot poem expresses this well: “Teach me how to care and not to care.” We take care of the body as best as we can, without the belief that we have any ultimate say over nature. We can be aware of the fragil- ity of the body and still have freedom of mind. This is the cultivation of wisdom and compassion. It may be a popular New Age belief to think that we can “conquer” illness through attitude alone, but a dharmic per- spective is that our attitudes don’t deter- mine the outcome. dharma has to do with suffering and the release from suffering, not the effort to control the uncontrol- lable. I see this kind of New Age belief leading to double suffering—the suffer- ing of the body plus the suffering that is experienced because “if one just had a better attitude, this would not be hap- pening.” This inevitably leads to a feeling of personal failure when the body doesn’t co-operate with one’s agendas and instead follows the laws of nature. It is said that the Buddha was neither pessimistic nor optimistic; he was a real- ist. The Buddha taught the middle path. Hope and desire are on one side; resig- nation and depression are on the other. The middle path is one of awareness and understanding. Accepting impermanence is a key to happiness. As the Buddha taught, “All conditioned things are impermanent. Their nature is to arise and pass away. To be in harmony with this truth brings true happiness.” Valuing your life, living in the here and now, and knowing the point of things— this is a wise attitude. This awareness teaches us not to take so much for granted, and not taking things for granted is the birth of true love. dzogchen the natural greatperfection DZOGCHEN RETREATS WITH LAMASURYA DAS Dzogchen is the consummate practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Considered by manytobe"theteaching of our time," Dzogchen is direct, immediate,essentialized, adaptable, and profound: a pure awareness practice applicable to any circumstance andreadily integrated into modern life. Dzogchen, often translated as the Natural GreatPerfection, dire ctly introduces us to our inner Buddha, the inherentfreedom, purity and perfection of being that is ourtrue nature. Dzogchen Center Meditation Retreats are heldacross the country, throughout the year as shown below: DZOGCHEN MEDITAT ION RETREATS Garrison, NY Winter December 29, 2007 – January 6, 2008 Joshua Tr ee,CA Spring March 29 – April6, 2008 Garrison, NY SummerJuly19–August 3, 2008 MULTIPLE TEACHINGSDAILY•NOBLE SILENCE•BEAUTIFUL SURROUNDINGS VEGETARIANMEALS • PRIVATE, SEMI-PRIVAT E, AND DORM ROOMS AVAILABLE For complete information and secure on-line registration for all of these scheduled events, go to www.dzogchen.org/retreats, e-mail email@example.com, or call 617-628 -1702. LAMASURYA DASisthe author of the newlyreleased Buddha Is As Buddha Does: The Te nOriginal Practices forEnlightened Living (HarperSanFrancisco,2007.) He is also theauthorof Natural Radiance(Sounds Tr ue), Letting Go of the Person Yo uUsed To Be (Broadway Books),and thenoted AwakeningTrilogy: Awakening the Buddha Within,Awake ning to the Sacred, and Awakening theBuddhist Heart (allBroadwayBooks.) Lama SuryaDas is aLineage Holder of the Dzogchen Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in theRimé (non-sectarian) tradition.For over thirtyyears, including morethan eight yearsin secluded retreat, he has studied with thegreat masters of Tibetan Buddhism. With hisopenand lively style, he is particularlyeffectivein thetransmission of Buddhism by presenting Buddhist values and insight,aswellasmethodsof practice, in a manneraccessible to all. DZOGCHEN CENTER BUDDHISM FOR THE WEST