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Buddhadharma : Winter 2017
forum | dukkha 75 important quality I bring to students is to serve as the living example of a fool- ish being, constantly reminded to return to beginner’s mind while also serving as the conduit and embodiment of the inconceivable depth of the samadhi of infinite light, of Amida Buddha, or of buddhanature. Without the spontaneous power of this inconceivable samadhi, it is extremely difficult to walk the Buddha way with others who carry that burden of intergenerational karma, which is pretty much everyone. ThuBTen Chodron: One of the chal- lenges I face is slipping into blaming oth- ers for my dukkha instead of accepting responsibility. Another problem I have is not really seeing the depths of dukkha, especially the pervasive dukkha of condi- tioning. It’s easy to try to just tweak my samsara, to adjust my life to make it a little bit more comfortable without really wanting to be free from all of samsara. Also, it’s sad to look at the world and see how we create so much unnecessary suffering for ourselves. Everybody wants happiness and doesn’t want suffering, and yet again and again as individuals, as groups, as countries, we keep creating causes for suffering, creating conditions that torment others and ourselves. That’s painful to see, but it also energizes my practice of compassion. BhiKKhu Bodhi: For the past forty years, I’ve had a chronic head pain condition that is often disabling and very discour- aging. Sometimes, when the pain is very intense, I can barely get out of bed. So it’s been a challenge trying to be productive and functional while enduring this con- dition, and it’s also been a big obstacle for my meditation. But it’s also been the primary theme of my meditation practice and has helped strengthen it. I faced a different challenge when I was living in Sri Lanka. I was there at a time when the country had been engulfed by two wars, and even though the central part of Sri Lanka where I was living was safe, I was constantly reading reports about the atrocities taking place on both sides. After I came back to the United States, I had access to the internet for the first time and was able to read about the vast suffering taking place worldwide from natural disasters and from unjust economic, social, and military policies. For me, this awareness has been galvaniz- ing in my relationship to dukkha. marK unno: The topic of dukkha is very timely in this particular moment, which is extremely difficult for so many people. Awareness of suffering is such a corner- stone of Buddhist practice; this aware- ness is what enables the doors of libera- tion to open for us. So as profound as the suffering and difficulty we face may be, it is also a moment of great spiritual opportunity. As one’s practice deepens, one becomes increasingly aware that collective karma is actually not separate from one’s own individual karma, that all karmic suffering is realized as one’s own suffering. —mArk unno