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Buddhadharma : Spri 2013
SPRING 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 19 EMAIL YOUR QUESTIONS TO TEACHERS@THEBUDDHADHARMA.COM ZENKEI BLANCHE HARTMAN: Yes, the Buddha taught about no distinction between “self” and “other” and he also taught about libera- tion from the suffering of self-clinging. He taught by sharing his direct experience of lib- eration. And he taught that a “self” separate from all existence is a construct of the mind and cannot be found in reality. Thus, dis- covering the “true self” is having the direct experience of identity with all that is; it is “being one with everything.” It is not that we meditate to try to diminish the gap between self and other. Rather, we practice in order to see directly that there never is such a gap in reality. The separation is created by our thoughts and a lifetime of conditioning. NARAYAN LIEBENSON GRADY: Discovering our “true self” means recognizing our original goodness—the natural contentment and wholeness within. As human beings, we have the same nature as the Buddha. Buddhanature is empty of greed, hatred, and delusion and full of unconditional love, compassion, joy, and equanimity. Recognizing our inherent buddhanature means realizing the true and boundless nature of the heart. Buddhanature has nothing to do with what we consider to be me, mine, or myself. What we see when we practice is not who we are, but what we are not. We see patterns and habits that we have mistakenly perceived as self. These are habits and patterns that we have practiced without wisdom and that have caused trouble and suffering for ourselves and others. It is essential to know these patterns in our own unique experience of life because what we are unconscious of, we are enslaved by. As Sayadaw U Tejaniya says, “This is not you, and yet you are responsible for it.” (LEFT–RIGHT):BARBARAWENGER,JANINEGULDENER,MARYLANG ZENKEI BLANCHE HARTMAN is former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center GESHE TENZIN WANGYAL RINPOCHE is a lineage holder of the Bön Dzogchen tradition of Tibet NARAYAN LIEBENSON GRADY is a guiding teacher at Cambridge Insight Meditation Center ASK THE TEACHERS Buddhist teachings talk about having no distinction between “self” and “other.” But they also talk about using meditation to discover one’s “true self.” If we’re trying to diminish the gap between self and other, how does discovering one’s self help in that process? When I meditate, I discover more about myself, but that seems to get in the way of dropping my sense of self. So this confuses me a lot! Q