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Buddhadharma : Winter 2009
11 winter 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly we welcome your comments at: letters@theBuddhadharma.com letters I applaud the effort and commitment of all translators of the dharma from Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and other Asian languages, into Western tongues and understanding. The con- ference at Deer Park that was reported on in the fall issue of Buddhadharma (“Charting the Future of Buddhist Transla- tion”) is a noble and exciting effort—indispensable for laying a foundation for the next thousand years. As there is a clear intent to be inclusive, I was surprised to find that no translator from the Pali seemed to be present at the conference, and moreover that discussions appeared to over- look great and continuing labors to translate the Pali canon, particularly into English. I was not there and therefore must rely on the reportage. But when Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche lamented that perhaps the canon will need to be translated from the Tibetan, I wondered whether some of the deficit might be remedied by relying on work already done on the Pali canon. Thus I respectfully invite all rinpoches, practitioners, translators, and scholars connected with this noble endeavor of understanding and disseminating the original words and intentions of the Buddha not to overlook the work of Bhik- khu Bodhi, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, and others who have devoted their lives to contemplating, translating, meditating on, and disseminating the Pali suttas, Abhidhamma, Vinaya, and com- mentaries. When an empowered Western lineage arises, may it represent all possible wisdoms. Kate Lila Wheeler Somerville, Massachusetts I found the Forum article “Start With Your Body” in the fall issue very thought-provoking. As a Zen teacher with more than forty years of meditation and bodywork experi- ence, I have found that working with the body is essential to uncovering unconscious material, especially from earlier in one’s life. For myself and many others I’ve worked with, meditation alone does not appear to be enough, as it is very easy to bypass painful or uncomfortable areas by hiding out in some type of samadhi. Also, just noticing a pervasive body sensation does not necessarily give us the skills to dialogue with it. There is always a reason why we block or resist—a fear or protective mechanism that has to be acknowledged in order for it to fully be dropped. Al Fusho Rapaport, Sensei Melbourne, Florida In the fall issue’s Ask the Teachers column, all three of the teachers seem to have redefined the meaning of passion to suit their own needs, and then used their revised definition of the word to prove that passion is unaffected by Buddhist practice. Webster’s dictionary has a number of definitions of the word (most of them associated with the Christian use of the word), but the summary says it all: “passion usually implies a strong emotion that has an overpowering or compelling effect.” For me, I find passion to be at one end of the spectrum and indifference at the other, with equanimity in the middle. Shortly after I started my Zen practice, I found I needed to say goodbye to passions that had driven me to do things I thought were worth sacrificing for. While my Zen practice has caused my passions to die, it has enabled my equanimity to be born. Passion and equanimity are not the same—even in Bud- dhist practice. You cannot experience both at that same time. It is always one or the other. George MacDonald Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Because I am a fundamentalist Christian meditator, I was very surprised by “Why We Need a Plan B” by Norman Fischer (Summer, 2009). Through my own experience meditating, and through dis- cussions with people of other faiths in which meditation is core to their faith, I have come to the conclusion that meditat- ing outside of a spiritual framework cannot bear significant fruit. This position is one I have learned through years of meditation and prayer. Teaching people to be present in a nonspiritual setting may give them a slight sense that there is something to quench their thirst, but I don’t think you can truly say you have invited them to drink unless you reflect the entire body of water. Jeffrey Fried Foster City, California The fall 2008 issue of Buddhadharma contained a review of my book Buddhist Scriptures as Literature. As reviewer Alexander Gardner notes, the book starts by claiming that Westerners have for centuries misread, or failed to read, Buddhist texts. After offering a summary of the book’s con- tents, Gardner goes on to refer to what he alleges is “Flores’