using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2017
summer 2017 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 43 (LEFT—RIgHT):SALLyARMSTRONg,ALESSANDRAMELLO,CLAUDINEgOSSETT the six senses and nothing else except the uncondi- tioned, which waits to be revealed at the moment of enlightenment. So that tension has existed for a long time. But people have gotten enlightened by following Yogacara teachings and also by following traditional Theravada or Madhyamaka teachings. I think it’s up to individual practitioners to listen to both presentations of the buddhadharma and fol- low whichever is most resonant for them. DAIJAKu KINST: Buddhanature is an important teach- ing in Soto Zen. It’s crucial that people “fall down and get up” in exploring its meaning—to reify it and then be challenged in that reification, and try to understand it as the interdependent nature of all being. This dynamic interdependence is sometimes called suchness or thusness. The question is not whether something exists but how things exist, not resting on some reified notion of buddhanature for the answers to our questions about the nature of reality and liberation but actually living out moment by moment the dynamic activity of bud- dhanature or suchness in all the activities of our days. BuDDhADhARMA: Let’s talk further about the relation- ship between appearance, or form, and emptiness? How do we reconcile these? ARI GOLDFIELD: These teachings get so abstract. But we can just start with our own experience. What is form? There’s a sense of something feeling solid, of having a fixed existence, which in some ways is comforting in that we feel we can rely on certain aspects of our experience. The goal is not to take that away completely but rather to open to how those qualities manifest for us through our personal history, psychology, thoughts, and culture. On a societal level, for example, we can see this happen- ing with how gender is being revealed more and more as a construct rather than as a fixed form. There’s an instruction by a Tibetan yogi named Gotsangpa who said, “Whatever is difficult, make that the object of your meditation.” By taking something difficult and changing our relationship to it, we can start to see how the form feels more flexible, more open. When I say “form,” I’m really Seeing that insubstantiality is freeing; it opens the heart to love, compassion, and wisdom. In terms of the properties of the noun or adjec- tival forms, that’s an interesting question. In some ways, I think we’d be better served by just using the adjective “empty,” because with “emptiness,” West- erners tend to get the idea that there’s something concrete that we’re supposed to discover. The real meaning is that the things we experience are empty of substantiality or empty of self. ARI GOLDFIELD: When my teacher came to the West in the seventies, the first aspect of emptiness he taught was not self-emptiness but the emptiness of other, which refers to the nature of mind—of buddhana- ture and how it is empty of any flaw or problem. Buddhanature, the core of our being, is not empty of its own amazing qualities, of strength, love, and wisdom. There’s a real positive sense of it. The trick is not to reify those concepts, and that’s why they’re described as non-composite or non-oppositional. So strength, for example, is not the opposite of weak- ness—it’s the strength that can hold experiences of both strength and weakness. Love can hold expe- riences of love and anger. From that perspective, nothing in our experience has the power to harm or denigrate who we truly are. Ultimately, our nature is empty of any vulnerability. BuDDhADhARMA: Guy, coming from the Theravada tradition, how do you respond when you hear lan- guage about buddhanature and the core of one’s being? Guy ARMSTRONG: This is a question that’s gone on within Buddhism for about 2,000 years. Some schools have been comfortable with that language since it was first brought into Buddhism, which as I understand was in the era of the Yogacara school, around 300 CE. You find echoes of it in Zen and even in some Thai Forest lineages, for instance in the writings of Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Maha Boowa, and Ajahn Jumnien. But there are other schools, within Theravada certainly, and possibly the Madh- yamaka school in Tibetan Buddhism, that aren’t as comfortable with the concept. They basically say experience is made up of the five aggregates or