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Buddhadharma : Fall 2017
fall 2017 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 49 practice that branch, and you are hanging there completely. If you are given one of the famous cases involving an encounter between two monks, you become one of those monks, or perhaps a witness on the scene. Although obviously you bring your life to the koan, you become the situation, not limited to your own life at all. When people give wrong answers to koans, their karma appears. They can see their karma very clearly and recognize that it’s not relevant to the situation. Being able to recognize and look past your karma is a critical aspect of this work. Summer 2015 Just Do It by Ajahn Jayasaro I’ve very rarely taught meditation in the West, but in Thailand a common prob- lem among lay meditators is that they take up meditation practice in order to become peaceful. When people meditate and they don’t become peaceful, or they don’t achieve the kind of peace they imagined they should be achieving, they become frustrated and discouraged, and even assume that they don’t have sufficient spiritual aptitude. In many ways we can say that following the path is the fruit; this is some- thing that I find myself talking about a lot. To make a comparison, let’s say a small child is learning to walk. You could say, “Well, where did the child walk to today? How far did she get?” But that’s not the point. The child wasn’t standing up, walking a few steps, falling down, and getting up in order to get somewhere. She didn’t fail because she didn’t get to a particular place. Similarly, if you’re learning to ride a bicycle, it’s not important where exactly you go. The question is, can you balance on a bicycle? Can you control a bicycle? Can you ride a bicycle? The goal is not to ride to a particular destination. I suggest that we look at meditation practice in the same way. We say, “Why are we putting forth this effort?” Well, we do it in order to be someone who knows how to put forth effort consistently and in an appropriate way, whatever the surrounding conditions are or obstacles might be. This ability to put forth unremitting effort is the goal itself. That’s not to say that there’s no interest in samadhi. But samadhi will come of itself. It’s a natural consequence of this pre- cise, devoted, consistent, and wise effort. Spring 2014