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Buddhadharma : Fall 2009
9 fall 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly lEttErs I’ve read about Zen masters who’d smack their students around if they got out of line, and I never interpreted it as “wrathfulness” (Ask the Teachers, Summer 2009). I believe that teachers come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Teachers have different methods, and maybe people in the West are too sensi- tive for a little kick in the ass, even when they should embrace it. The discipline I got from my mom and dad was not out of wrath, but love. It was their way of teaching me to do the right thing. As a young boy I didn’t understand, but I accepted it. Now, as a grown man, I can still hear the wrathfulness in my mother’s voice telling me what’s right and what’s wrong. I still obey. We all have different methods and come from dif- ferent places. And as a student, if I have to get my ass kicked to learn, I will accept it. Michael Uhila East Palo Alto, California Our last issue included several letters express- ing concern over the Ask the Teachers responses (Spring 2009) to a question about how to deal with an abusive husband. The woman who posed the question read those letters and offers this reply: First off, I’d like to thank the teachers for their wisdom. The advice is very help- ful. I’m sorry that the advice to look at my own behavior caused some readers anguish. I’d like to reassure all of you that I’m fine, and I will be fine. Our situation is improving, especially since I started studying the buddha- dharma last year. When we got married, we both had a lot of expectations. I married him for the possibility of change and growth, and also as a solution to a battle with depression that has its roots in my teenage years. I made it very clear to my husband that he’d have to put an end to his outbursts, or the children and I would be gone. He’s worked on controlling his anger over the years, and he’s gotten much better at it, but it’s taken me a lot of time to cope with it. I had several therapists, but they weren’t very skilled in help- ing me. When I wrote the letter, he’d had a nasty outburst, which trig- gered my fear and anxiety once again. I think the worst is all behind us now. Most of the abuse occurred earlier in our marriage. In the begin- ning I didn’t react, but at a certain point I started to fight back. Things have calmed down a lot. Mostly, he’s been quite devoted. Our marriage is a long exercise in patience with each other’s faults and afflictions, and it’s something we’ve each borne for the greater good of going on together. Our children are doing well, and are also learning from our growth as a couple. They want to be a fam- ily. I’ve always felt, as a child of divorce, that children need both parents. Our children adore their father. Our daughter is captivated by the story of the Buddha Shakyamuni and she imitates his posture, sitting in lotus. She and my husband both sing Om Mane Padme Hum and enjoy listening to mantras, includ- ing the Heart Sutra. So I think we are all on the right path, and I doubt it would have hap- pened if my own anguish hadn’t continually spurred me on to seek answers. I tried to find an answer in therapy and pills. Finally, I knew I had to change my thinking, and that it could only come from within me. Thanks once again to the teachers and readers for all your kindness, wisdom, and support. It’s very reassuring to know there are so many people out there who care so much. Name Withheld Thank you so much for the article “Medi- cate or Meditate?” (Spring 2009), which When I wrote the letter, he’d had a nasty outburst, which trig- gered my fear and anxiety once again. I think the worst is all behind us now. Most of the abuse occurred earlier in our marriage. In the begin- ning I didn’t react, but at a certain point I started to fight back. Things WE WELCoME yoUR CoMMENTS AT: LETTERS@THEBUDDHADHARMA.CoM