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Buddhadharma : Summer 2018
COMMENTARY 17 joy that has shepherded our lineage across the expanses of space and time. Too often, we operate under the unexamined assumption that lineage is a completed painting, when in actuality it is a work of art that is never finished. Lineage defies assumptions, ideas, and projections. When it becomes rarified, an object of study rather than a living body, something gets lost. When we become attached to preexisting ideas of what lineage is and how it ought to appear, we display our ignorance of how it came to be. We forget that the way we know the lineage to be is a result of organic growth over hundreds of years. It was the successes and failures of individuals over time that created what we know as lineage. The most vital aspect of the work ahead of us is coming to a recognition that the lineage flows in our veins, in our image. When our values and voices feel only distantly related to our dharma lineage, or entirely outside of it, something needs to change. We mustn’t forget our agency. Our cultural back- grounds, identities, good and bad experiences, our rough edges, and our strengths not only inform the lineage, they become the lineage. The very notion that there is something to guard or pre- serve is an illusion. Dharma always emerges when there is space for it to emerge. Dharma survives because it is not dependent on any set of forms for survival; it is co-emergent with form. I am form, you are form—our cultures, our conflicts, our suc- cesses, and our failures are all form aligned with dharma. We are co-creating a container for authentic dharma to arise here in the West. The hardest act is taking those initial steps to help create the lineage we value rather than following one that feels imposed. The ground upon which each of us exists is pure. Our voices, our bodies, our minds, and the ways we express our- selves are the dynamic life force of lineage. We have the ability to act from a place of authenticity, to express our innate agency and our buddhanature. We have the power to change the way we think about lineage. Only then will we truly manifest it.