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Buddhadharma : Fall 2010
13 FALL 2 01 0 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly The LAsT suPPer In his commentary on the Diamond Sutra, Thich Nhat Hanh explains why Jesus’ last supper was actually a mindfulness meal. “Subhuti, what is called buddhadharma is everything that is not buddhadharma.” Those who bring Buddhist practice to the West should do so in this spirit. Since Buddhism is not yet known to most Westerners, the essence of Buddhism won’t have much chance to blos- som in the West if the teachings emphasize form too much. If you think that the teachings of Buddhism are completely separate from the other teach- ings in your society, that is a big mistake. When I travel in the West to share the teach- ings of Buddhism, I often remind people that there are spiritual values in Western culture and tradition—in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity—that share the essence of Buddhism. When you look deeply into your culture and tradition, you will discover many beautiful spiritual values. They are not called buddhadharma, but they are really buddha- dharma in their content. In his last meal, for example, Jesus held up a piece of bread and shared it with his students, saying, “Friends, eat this bread which is my flesh. I offer it to you.” When he poured the wine, he said, “Here is my blood. I offer it to you. Drink it.” Many years ago, when I met Cardinal Danielou in Paris, I told him, “I think Lord Jesus was teaching his students the prac- tice of mindfulness.” In our life, we eat and drink many times a day, but while doing so, our mind is usually wandering elsewhere, and what we really eat are our worries, thoughts, and anxieties. Eating in mindfulness is to be in touch with life. Jesus spoke the way he did so that his students would really eat the bread. The Last Supper was a mindfulness meal. If the disciples could pierce through their distractions and eat one piece of bread in the present moment with their whole being, isn’t that buddhadharma? Words like “mindful- ness” or “meditation” may not have been used, but the fact that thirteen people were sitting and eating together in mindfulness is surely the practice of Buddhism. From The DiamonD ThaT CuTs Through illusion, revised edition, by thich nhat hanh, Forthcoming in october From Parallax Press iLLusTrATions by nick Lu FirsT ThoughTs