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Buddhadharma : Fall 2009
13 fall 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly illustrations by kim sCafuro the time when we live in such true realization. We still have to engage in day-to-day reality. FRoM No Self, No Problem By ANAM THUBTEN, PUBLISHED By SNoW LIoN, JUNE 2009 thE lEsson of family CamP Ajahn Anandabodhi, a Buddhist nun from Wales, explains why it’s important for her to stay connected to the life she’s renounced. I noticed this year with Amaravati Monas- tery’s family camp how there’s been a kind of healing in my own heart. There were times when I wouldn’t go to the camp, because when I’d see all the little children, the part of me that will never be a mother couldn’t quite cope with that. The sense of “this is what I’ve renounced” was too strong. But I appreciate the fact that I can’t hide away in the monas- tery and never be confronted with the things I’ve chosen to give up. I really appreciate this yearly visit of the families. I feel it keeps me in touch with peo- ple’s lives and from being too removed as a samana [a contemplative or renunciant]. We can have high ideals about how a Bud- dhist practitioner should be, how a samana should be, and this can get in the way of being with the way things really are. I remember a woman on a retreat that I was teaching who told me she didn’t know what to do because she kept grieving for her late mother, and her husband was telling her she wasn’t practicing correctly. He felt she shouldn’t still be griev- ing, that she should be equanimous. I tried to point out that as long as we’re attached, as long as someone is dear to us, then we will naturally feel grief when we’re parted from them. The Buddha clearly points this out. But knowing this intellectually is lim- ited; it’s something we have to know deeply What arE you sEarChing for? It’s important to examine whether your goal is really enlightenment, says Anam Thubten Rinpoche, or just a spiritual high. It is good to ask from time to time, “What am I searching for?” This is a very power- ful question. We may be shocked when we figure out what we have been up to. Often we discover that we have been chasing illu- sions. Sometimes they are beautiful illusions, like the illusion of enlightenment and spiritual transformation. Nevertheless, as long as we allow our mind to chase such illusions, there is no true liberation. There are spiritual highs, but no true liberation. It is very easy to have spiritual highs. Some- times they are very pleasant, like enjoying a nice glass of wine. When we get depressed, sometimes we like to drink wine or get up at one or two o’clock in the morning and stuff ourselves with ice cream. Having spir- itual highs is a bit like that. It’s just an anti- depression, anti-conflict, anti-sadness tech- nique because it doesn’t really cut the root of suffering in the ultimate sense. So we have to make sure that what we are searching for is not just another beautiful illusion. True realization is knowing that everything is an illusion. Without having that realization there is no freedom. Therefore, the goal of the true spiritual path is to bring about that reali- zation in our mind, and then live each and every moment in that realization. The goal is not just having that realization periodically but living in that realization as a way of life, sleeping in that realization, and sometimes fighting in that realization, too. That’s okay as long as everything is happening in the context of that realization. We do not always have a beautiful smile on our face and dance all of first thoughts