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Buddhadharma : Winter 2008
15 winter 2 00 8 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly facing each other—the Buddha in the samadhi position, and Prajna Paramita presenting the wis- dom mudra; the former, a male form, being soft and relaxed, and the latter, a female form, being sharp and alert. In my mind, they present two of the key facets of dhamma that have to fit together in the experience of each practitioner. Having the two images as both central but at the opposite ends of the hall also reminds us that an all-around and embracing vision is essential. Now Prajna Paramita, Wisdom, is at the entry to the hall, as an initial reminder that all form is dependently arisen and has no intrinsic self- existence—thus form is empty. She is also the last image that visitors see as they leave the hall. Entering the hall, one comes to a place where stillness and inner-dwelling is the norm, but on leaving one is reminded to be alert and to not become deluded by the manifestations of the world. All form is caught in opinions, in male and fe- male, mine and yours, old and new, and so on. And the conflict of the world is based on supporting one aspect against the other. For me the message of Prajna Paramita is that through careful dis- cernment, emptiness can also embrace and value each form that arises. Then, in its own time and place, each apparent thing can be part of a whole that is never seen but sensed in the peace of dhamma- fruition. From the forest sanGha newsletter, July 2008. Politics is dharma Rebecca Novick says people who believe dharma and politics don’t mix need only talk to those who are fighting for freedom in Tibet. I met my lama at a demonstration. It’s hard to imagine a less spiritual place—a busy intersec- tion beneath the drab utilitarian architecture of the Los Angeles Federal Building at rush hour. It was December 10, 1991—International Human Rights Day. Less than one year later, I found my- self halfway around the world in the North In- dian town of Dharamsala, filming a documentary about human rights abuses in Tibet. I remember kIMSCAFURO Someone once asked Zen Master Seung Sahn, “Suppose you were to take all these things—the robes and chanting, bowing and sitting, every- thing—and throw them out the window, then what?” Zen Master Seung Sahn responded, “You still have a window!” This is similar to the exam- ple of the tortoise that comes up out of the ocean to lay her eggs on the beach. She buries the eggs, and then on the way back down to the water, she uses her tail to wipe out her footprints. However, wiping the tail in the sand still leaves a trace. So even if we throw formal practice out the window, the idea of having a window remains. Essentially, bowing is OK, sitting is OK, formal practice is OK. Whatever we do in our practice can be of use, providing we do it with sincerity and with an aspiration to recognize our true self—and our connection with all beings. If you are holding on to ideas in your head, then bow with the idea of putting them all down. From the Kwan um school of Zen newsletter, SPring 2008. Prajna Paramita’s message Ajahn Sucitto, abbot of Cittaviveka monastery, explains why a statue of Prajna Paramita, a Mahayana image, is a valuable support to his Theravada community. On April 11 Ajahn Vimalo’s statue of Pra- jna Paramita (The Perfection of Wisdom) was formally installed in the Dhamma Hall at Cit- taviveka in a ceremony that included the male and female monastic communities of Cittaviveka and Amaravati, as well as many lay friends. It was a bright and inspiring occasion, and one that carried a sense of long-awaited completion. Our chanting has traditionally centered around the Theravada image of the Buddha, and we felt that the most suitable place for Prajna Paramita, a Mahayana image, would be as a compliment rather than an adjunct to that. So the hall was designed to have Prajna Paramita and the Buddha donations include ■ eido roshi “What is it?”original calligraphy ■ Kd lang “Watershed” signed deluxe CD ■ eileen fisher clothing gift certificate ■ BooKs/audio from Parallax Press, Sounds True, and Wisdom Publications ■ thich nhat hanh “Reverence is the nature of my love” original calligraphy ■ retreats, Programs, Vacations from University of the West, Nalanda West, Hollyhock, Kripalu Center, Omega Institute and Casa Garuda / Tuscany ■ daVid siPress original cartoons ■ signed collectiBles from authors bell hooks, Natalie Golberg, Alice Walker and Pema Chödrön ■ statuary and Practice materials from Dharmacrafts and Namse Bangdzo Bookstore ■ and more ... for further details on all items and to see the comPlete selection, Please go to www.theBuddhadharma.com/auction Proceeds from this auction will allow us to further our use of environmentally responsible paper. The Shambhala Sun Foundation wholeheartedly thanks our auction partners for their generous donations. annual online auction www.thebuddhadharma.com/auction 2nd In support of the Shambhala Sun Foundation Opens November 24 and ends December 14, 2008 The Shambhala Sun Foundation online auction offers an exceptional opportunity to purchase original calligraphies, photographs, signed writings, meditation programs, retreats, and vacation accommodations — all donated by the artists, writers, and advertisers featured in our magazines and by supporters of the Foundation. Visit www.thebuddhadharma.com/auction, and help us continue our transition to environmentally responsible paper. Shambhala Sun Foundation An independent, nonprofit corporation. Publishers of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly.