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Buddhadharma : Winter 2006
buddhadharma| 7 |winter 2006 Send your letterS by mail or to letterS@thebuddhadharma.com John Killacky writes in “Blessings in the Time of Night Sweats” (Fall 2006) about his experience of wanting to become a student of Miura Roshi and being told that the roshi was too old to take on new students. He was allowed to sit with Roshi but not to have personal access to him, and he took this to mean that he was not really a student in an official sense. This recalls the story of Bodhi- dharma, the first ancestor in the Chan tradition, who was entreated by a young man named Huike to be accepted as a disciple. After repeated entreaties and rejections, Huike finally cut off one of his arms to dem- onstrate his sincerity. At that point, Bodhidharma engaged Huike and guided the young man to enlighten- ment. The point of retelling this story is of course not to suggest that Mr. Killacky should have cut off his arm to demonstrate his sincerity but that it is up to the student to make the leap of commitment to become a student of the master, not for the master to acknowledge the student. In agreeing to sit with Roshi, despite not being officially a student, Mr. Killacky clearly demonstrated his sincerity. I hope these comments help Mr. Killacky to realize that he was a student of the roshi from the very beginning, and that the need for “acceptance” from a teacher is just another stumbling block on the path. Ernest Heau Bayside, New York I found Ajahn Brahm’ s article (“Degrees of Seeing,” Fall 2006) interesting, while I also found his absolutist tone regarding the neces- sity of jhana practice a good example of vipallasa: he’s got his view that generates perceptions that make thoughts to support his view! As Thich Nhat Hanh points out in his commentaries on the Anapanasati and Satipatthana Suttas, there are no references at all to jhanas in these and other early suttas. The four jhanas, the four formless concentrations, and the nine concentration attainments became a part of Buddhist practice after the Buddha’s death, probably under the influence of Vedic and Yogic meditation schools outside of Buddhism. I think it is important to remem- ber that the Buddha studied with Samkhya-Yoga teachers before his enlightenment and practiced the jha- nas and four formless concentrations with great success, but he expressed quite clearly that this practice did not lead to final liberation from suffer- ing. While the defilements are indeed suppressed during deep concentra- tion, they are merely suppressed. They are subdued for only as long as the concentration persists, without eradicating their root causes. Frank Jude Boccio Eugene, Oregon In your article about our Buddhist meditation group at the Air Force Academy, you described Ven. Tenzin Kacho’s services rather simplistically and inaccurately by saying that Ten- zin “engaged students in conversa- tion.” This suggests that all Tenzin did each week was lead some sort of discussion group or special-inter- est club. Tenzin brought decades of experience and learning to the task of guiding our cadets and helping them to grow spiritually and personally. She did a great deal more than sim- ply “engage them in conversation,” and was dearly loved by the cadets attending her services. I truly hope that Tenzin, her many friends and associates, the members of Thubten Shedrup Ling here in Colorado Springs and Thubten Dhargye Ling in Long Beach can find it in their hearts to understand what a gross misrepresentation that quote is of her long tenure of invaluable service at USAFA. melvin mcleod, editor-in-chief Tynette Deveaux, editor seth levinson, art Director Barry campbell Boyce, senior editor molly De shong, assistant editor scott armstrong, editorial assistant BoarD oF eDiTorial aDvisors ajahn amaro, abhayagiri Buddhist monastery Jeffrey cox, snow Lion publications Zoketsu norman Fischer, everyday Zen Foundation, san Francisco Zen center roshi Bernie glassman, Zen peacemaker order Jack Kornfield, spirit rock meditation center John Daido loori, roshi, Zen mountain monastery Timothy mcneill, Wisdom publications larry mermelstein, nalanda translation committee reginald a. ray, naropa university Barbara rhodes, Kwan um school of Zen sharon salzberg, insight meditation society robert a.F. Thurman, columbia university, tibet house u.s . peter Turner, shambhala publications Taitetsu unno, american Buddhist study center michael Wenger, san Francisco Zen center (organizations listed for identification purposes only.) Buddhadharma: The practitioner’s Quarterly is a publication of the shambhala sun James m. gimian, publisher molly De shong, associate publisher, circulation eric l. ross, associate publisher, advertising alan Brush, circulation Director Jessica von handorf, production coordinator Debra ross, Development coordinator aDverTising inQuiries steve ritchie, account representative (866) 436-3233 (toll-free) firstname.lastname@example.org paul laybolt, advertising assistant (877) 786-1950, ext 31 (toll-free) email@example.com eDiTorial & cenTral Business oFFice 1660 hollis st., suite 701 halifax, nova scotia canada B3J 1V7 tel.: (902) 422-8404; Fax: (902) 423-2701 email: firstname.lastname@example.org u.s. suBscripTion oFFice 1345 spruce st., Boulder, co 80302-4886 suBscriBe at www.thebuddhadharma.com or call toll-free (877) 786-1950 moving? Please notify us six weeks in advance of your address change. 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