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Buddhadharma : Spring 2011
21 spring 2 01 1 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly While the core teaching of Buddhism is the same, the outer form and expres- sion of the teachings has been influenced by the cultures in which the teachings have taken root. That form or appear- ance varies greatly. The purpose of a tra- dition is to hold and preserve knowledge and methods, and to enrich a body of knowledge through the experiences of its practitioners. It is not to create divisions. It is quite natural that you may feel more at home in one approach than another. Indeed, to mature on the spiri- tual path, commitment of one’s focus and effort is necessary and encour- aged. If you feel strong enough in your practice, you can participate with other forms and those forms can enrich your experience without changing your main form of practice. Visiting, and listening to or engaging in dharma talks—par- ticularly anything that supports opening the heart or cultivating love, compas- sion, joy, and equanimity—is to be encouraged. Participate, feel supported by the sangha, engage in activities of service, but do your own practice. Find a balanced way to engage with other schools that doesn’t interfere with your root connection, but serves to enrich or expand your experience. zenkei blanche harTman: When you refer to the order with which you prac- tice being many states away, I wonder whether you have a relationship with a teacher there? If so, I would suggest that you explore this question with him or her, especially if you have taken refuge or received the precepts in that order. While it is true that the style and forms of practice in Zen and Vajrayana are different, there is one buddha- dharma. In fact, if the practice of the Tibetan sangha in your area is in the Dzogchen or Mahamudra tradition, you may notice a similarity in the style of meditation to the Zen meditation with which you are familiar. If your teacher has no objection, I would encourage you to explore whether you may ben- efit from having a relationship with a sangha and people to practice with on a regular basis where you are. and the others are my extended family, just as in the world at large I feel that Buddhism is my immediate family and everyone else is my extended family. Of course it is also true that all beings are family. One of the great sufferings in the world is caused by sectarianism, which pits one tradition, one sect, one religion, against another. There is a human ten- dency to think that whatever you are doing is the best thing to be doing and others should do it too. This reveals itself not only between the various Buddhist traditions but within the tra- ditions themselves. Whatever we can do to work against this tendency is an expression of the Buddha’s teachings, which was not the encouragement of greater worldly sectarianism but a path of inner freedom. Tenzin Wangyal rinpoche: Among all the approaches of buddhadharma there is no conflict in the wisdom teaching that all beings have awakened nature, a nature pure and boundless. Failing to recognize this nature, one suffers; in recognizing this nature, one is lib- erated from suffering. One who fully awakens is referred to as buddha. Meditation supports the moment-to- moment recognition of this nature and its full maturation and expression in a life that benefits others. In relation to this pure and open space of being there is no author, no owner or name, and no divisions or schools. In the Bön tradition of Tibet, the his- torical buddha, or awakened teacher, was Tönpa Shenrap. He had and con- tinues to have many disciples who attained realization and themselves were and are considered buddhas. In India, Shakyamuni Buddha brought forth teachings and articulated meth- ods to discover and connect with the source of being. The teachings of these buddhas have spread to many countries and cultures through the vital student– teacher relationship. These lineages of unbroken relationship have resulted in schools or traditions that continue today and have entered Western culture.