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Buddhadharma : Summer 2018
20 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY attachment is natural and appropriate, but one must know that the conditions— and even the emotions—are impermanent and illusory. So when it is time to let attachments dissolve, one must allow it. He could rest with equanimity in the fundamental purity of mind itself, confi- dent in the natural qualities of compas- sion, love, and joy. And his great attach- ment was to the well-being and liberation of others. OFOSU JONES-QUARTEY: I can’t speak for those who are realized; I am someone who hasn’t realized much except for the fact that I need to keep practicing. I can only speculate based on what I have stud- ied and what I have experienced in my own practice. When we speak about any realized being—even the Buddha himself—we have to begin with the premise that we are talking about a realized human being. Grief and sadness are an essential part of how human beings experience their lives. These emotions, while unpleasant, are natural responses to loss or tragedy. What does realization mean if we don’t flinch, for instance, at the death of a child? No emotion is a problem in itself. The problem is the greed, hatred, and delu- sion that stem from an ignorant percep- tion of, and relationship with, reality. So Ofosu Jones-Quartey is a teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington if our grief and sadness are spontaneous, compassionate responses to tragedy and loss, devoid of the contempt of wanting things to be different from how they are, then they can be expressions of realiza- tion. Such emotions arise, stay for a time, and then pass away without us needing to manufacture or cling to anything. A person who has achieved realiza- tion has cut off karmic tethers to the world. The fuel of desire that perpetuates through lifetime after lifetime has been snuffed out by the realization of imper- manence, suffering, and nonself. A real- ized being walks the path of liberation by engaging with the world in a completely compassionate way. Simultaneously, because there is nothing to hold on to in a lasting way, a realized being also lets go of the world. However, beings who are enlightened are not suddenly removed from their humanity, cold and aloof. Instead, it’s the opposite: they are fully in touch with what it means to be human. Ajahn Chah once said that after enlightenment, one is basically the same person that he or she was before achiev- ing realization, only now they see every- thing clearly. That clarity changes how one relates to the world. When tragedy and loss strike, the heart is moved—it’s the natural human response. Enlighten- ment does not cut us off from our emo- tions but rather brings us to a place JAMMIEPATTON