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Buddhadharma : Win 2012
WINTER 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 13 was performing, especially when he played Bach. It was as if he removed his human form completely and let the music come through him. The transformation encompassed his entire body, and you could tell his mind was in another space. His play- ing reminds me of the line in a Zen poem: “Barn’s burned down—now I can see the moon.” The lesson I took away from watching this video is that, like Gould, who let his ego fall away so he became a conduit for the music, when I let my ego fall away, honed by my practice, I can connect with how I am conducting the activities of the moment and thereby maximize the karmic results for promoting good. It seems that there are two aspects within each of us—the functional being who learns to master the technique required for excel- lence and the ego that wants to control the process and is hard to get out of the way. In other words, one part of me—the reservoir of knowledge, the muscle memory, and the overall life experience that influences how I act—is a conduit for energy. The other part is the self-centered egotist who wants to cri- tique, take credit for his accomplishments, and accept the appreciation of others. I tell my students that it is important to learn to get out of the way of what you are doing, and just let your practice shine through. This takes some perseverance and isnoteasytodowithalotofgraceinthe beginning. Consider these words by Shunryu Suzuki from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: “When we do something with a quite simple, clear mind, we have no notion or shadows, and our activity is strong and straightforward. But when we do something with a complicated mind, in relation to other things or people, or society, our activity becomes very complex.” It takes a great deal of practice to be a “beginner.” A beginner’s mind means one has no agenda for any outcome. The energy that arises from a beginner’s mind flows from letting go of all the personal preferences, the attachments, and the distorted worldview we come to think is reality. When we learn to touch the spiritual element of our being, we bring happiness and harmony into a world full of awakened potential. FROM THE ENGAGED DHARMA WEBSITE (ENGAGEDDHARMA. COM), SEPTEMBER 2012 “STRIVE ON WITH DILIGENCE” Because the monastic path can be especially difficult, Ajahn Sundara reminds monks and nuns of the Buddha’s final words. Energy—the ability to arouse effort, persis- tence, and the capacity to exert oneself—is probably one of the most important qualities to be developed in the training of a monas- tic. It is also one of the factors of the noble eightfold path. The last words of the Buddha before passing away into parinibbana were: “All compounded things are impermanent; strive on with diligence.” Monastic life, with its emphasis on medita- tion, moral restraint, and renunciation, deeply challenges our conditioning and habits. The practice and the training, through mindful- ness and wisdom, cut through the habits of