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Buddhadharma : Spring 2010
13 spring 2 01 0 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly like so many Flashcards Andrew Olendzki, the director of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, on the process we call “self.” The core insight of the Buddhist tradition— the relentless emptiness of phenomena—has profound implications for all of us who are trying to understand the nature of life. It points to the disturbing fact that all nouns are arbitrary constructions. A person, place, or thing is just an idea invented to freeze the fluid flow of the world into objects that can be labeled and manipulated by adroit but shal- low modes of mind. Beyond and behind these snapshots we take for ourselves is a vast and unnameable process. Of all the nouns we use to disguise the hol- lowness of the human condition, none is more influential than “myself.” It consists of a col- lage of still images—name, gender, nationality, profession, enthusiasms, relationships—which are renovated from time to time, but other- wise are each a relic from one particular expe- rience or another. The defining teaching of the Buddhist tradition, that of nonself, is merely pointing out the limitations of this reflexive view we hold of ourselves. It’s not that the self does not exist, but that it is as cobbled together and transient as everything else. The practice of meditation invites us to investigate the flux of arising and passing events. When we get the hang of it, we can begin to see how each artifact of the mind is raised and lowered to view, like so many flashcards. But we can also glimpse, once in a while, the sleight-of-hand shuffling the cards and pulling them off the deck. Behind the objects lies a process. Self is a process. Self is a verb. From Unlimiting mind: the Radically expeRiential psychology of BUddhism, Forthcoming From wisdom Publications in aPril 2010 loving the Whole package Learning to your love yourself, says Insight Meditation teacher James Baraz, starts with forgiving yourself for being you. In my early years of teaching meditation, giv- ing talks alongside some of the wisest and most gifted teachers left me racked with pain- ful comparisons. Joseph Goldstein would 800-950-0313 (Speak to our knowledgeable staff!) www.SnowLionPub.com tibet@www.SnowLionPub.com edited by John Powers and Charles S. Prebish 320 pp. • $22.95, OUR PRICE $18.36 Thought-provoking writings on Buddhist ethics by leading thinkers in the field. by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen ed. by Khenmo Trinlay Chödron 536 pp. • $25.95, OUR PRICE $20.76 Maps out the essential points of both sutra and tantra from beginning to end. New Buy direct from Snow Lion and save! See our website for special bonus offers! from compiled, trans. and ed. by Cortland Dahl 260 pp. • $29.95, OUR PRICE $23.96 “This inspiring book, with Jigmé Lingpa’s commentary alongside Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s brilliant and practical guide offers nothing less than a relevant and effective path to enlightenment.”— by Dr. Andrew Holecek 296 pp. • $18.95, OUR PRICE $15.16 • April The Power and the Pain addresses the difficult issues of life head on and shows how to tap our power. “Heartfelt Advice is a wonderful treasure for Western dharma practitioners...a comprehensive collection of key Buddhist teachings that offer the gift of priceless wisdom.” — by Karma Chagmé comm. by Gyatrul Rinpoche trans. by B. Alan Wallace 240 pp. • $18.95, OUR PRICE $15.16 “An incomparable introduction to the actual practice of higher meditative instructions”— illustrations by kim scaFuro First thoughts