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Buddhadharma : Summer 2009
15 summer 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly but a way of manipulating people to help me, or that my being a stickler for rules is a way of masking my faults. It means dropping the stratagems of the self-seeking ego. It means understanding our own ways of practicing the eight worldly dharmas. It means painful self-realization. It means becoming your own therapist. It means not quoting texts, but de- veloping your own realizations about these texts. And it involves pain. Then, when we are prepared to let go of our self-serving ego, we begin to understand the richness of the teachings for what they are. And when I get there, you can throw it all at me, and I will be delighted. FRoM Mandala JANUARy/MARCH 2009 don’t sWitCh the Cd When there’s a painful thought or emotion playing over and over again in your mind like a CD, says Thich Nhat Hanh, don’t try to push it away. Suffering can instruct us a lot and help each person cultivate compassion and understand- ing. In fact, we cannot grow without experi- encing suffering. When we say we should not give negative seeds a chance [to develop], we are referring to the teaching of Right Diligence. This means first of all that when positive seeds are present we should keep them alive as long as possible. One example of a positive seed is com- passion. We should keep the seed of compassion alive in our hearts and our minds. One way to keep this seed alive is to be aware of the suffering. Second, the practice of Right Diligence means that we do not give negative seeds like hatred and anger a chance to increase by wa- tering them every day. If you are experienced in the practice of mindfulness, you can com- plete the practice of Right Diligence by the practice of embracing strong emotions. From time to time there is a mental forma- tion that refuses to be replaced, like a CD that plays over and over. Even if you have a strong intention to replace it, it is too strong. If you are a skillful practitioner you will not try to change the CD. You will say, “You want to stay? It’s OK!” You accept the CD, you accept the feeling, you embrace it tenderly, and look deeply into it. That is also the teaching of the Buddha, to recognize the painful emotion— not to fight it, but to recognize and embrace it to get relief. Look deeply into its nature to find all the roots of that feeling or emotion, because understanding is the way of libera- tion. Mindfulness and concentration lead to insight that is liberating. FRoM the MIndfulness Bell, WINTER/SPRING 2009 so you think the World is Changing? An exchange between the late Zen Master Seung Sahn and one of his students challenges how we see the world. Student: If the world changes all the time, why is there only one answer to these kong- ans (koans)? Zen Master Seung Sahn: The world is chang- ing? This is the first time I’ve heard about it. The world is empty. Is the empty world changing? Your world is changing, OK? Somebody else’s world is completely empty: form is emptiness, emptiness form, complete emptiness. Some other people’s world is al- ways in truth: sky is blue, tree is green, dog barking, sugar is sweet, and so on. Everything is true. When you see, when you hear, when you think—everything is truth. That is a truth- world. Then somebody else says, no, no, the truth-world is not that. This world is a com- passion-world: great love, great compassion, great bodhisattva way; only help all beings. But your world is a changing world. Why do you make of this world a changing world? Do you like that? I’m probably attached to it, yes. You are attached to it? No problem! But if you are attached to this world, then when you die, you’ll have a problem. Right now there’s no problem, but later your karma will be pulling you. Where you’ll go, you don’t understand. Sometimes you end up in an animal’s womb, maybe become a dog. Around and around, over and over. So you must clarify your direc- tion, OK? Which one is your direction? Cut down your thinking, cut down, cut down. Then the empty world appears. Only stay in the empty world, and you won’t have problems. When you die, you’ll never come ANABENAROyA