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Buddhadharma : Spri 2007
spring 2007| 78 |buddhadharma you momentarily, and that’s all it can do.” He says “the religious experience is one of despair” and likens the “holy life” to a “holocaust, a total burning, a burning up of the self, of ignorance.” His discourse is plain and conversational, focusing on being present with the reality of life, which is that all things, includ ing feelings and ideas, are anicca, anatta, dukkha (impermanent, without self, unsatisfying). These Pali words were not entirely new tome,butuntilIreadTheWayItIs,I had failed to understand how thoroughly they apply to thoughts and feelings, to the sense of self itself. Instead of relentlessly trying to cut off insult and pain, I began to attend to the impermanence of the feel ings and of the self that feels them. Allow ing these to arise and cease in their own time – just as breakfast, daylight, breath, and joy also do – immediately provided real freedom within the fire. There is more to this book: a refutation of any aspiration to greatness you might harbor (bad news for all those who secretly hope to be discovered as a tulku); a beauti ful discourse on dependent origination; simple blackandwhite photographs of Theravada monastic life. Anyone who is being consumed by life – as we all are – will find something of value here. One day late last summer, news swept our monastery that Ajahn Sumedho was coming for a very brief, very informal visit. I was thrilled at the prospect of telling him how much I appreciated The Way It Is and at maybe even having him autograph my copy. When the day came, his party arrived, lunch was served, and Ajahn Sumedho sat down with our abbots to discuss the running of dharma centers and guiding others in practice. There was no graceful way to insert myself or my request. And really, it didn’t matter. Ajahn Sumedho went on his way, and later that year I went on mine. I still hold the nonmemory dear: to have encountered this great teacher without trying to turn the event into something special feels simple and satis fying – the teaching of The Way It Is at work. Books, meals, careers, and ideas all arise; they are as they are, and then they end. I was a scientist and now I’m not; I was a monastery resident and now I’m not. This letting everything be, as it is, is something I hope to do until there’s nothing left to be done. firstname.lastname@example.org www.worldspirit.org.uk ++ 44 161 928 5768 Zen Gardens Kyoto, Japan April & November Ten day tours Buddhist Peace Fellowship Seeks Executive Director The Buddhist Peace Fellowship is seeking an organizational leader who can be an ar ticulate and powerful voice for socially engaged Buddhism. The new director will be integral in implementing the goals of BPF’s strategic plan, and ensuring BPF’s continued viability as a recognized and respected leader in the field of socially engaged Buddhism. Interested candidates should apply by Februar y 28, 2007. For complete details and job description, please visit www.bpf.org/html/about_us/jobs/jobs.html Become a member of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and receive Turning Wheel ! PO Box 3470, Berkeley, CA 94703 www.bpf.org Executive Director Search