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Buddhadharma : Summer 2019
86 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY day in every direction and think, “If we just didn’t do that, things would be so much better.” If there weren’t so much greed and self ishness, if we weren’t so blind within our anger or so attached to our views, there would be so much less suffering. While this is true, it is too easy to fall into blaming, making excuses, and projecting onto others, including our “other.” Master Yangshan is trying to start an inner revolution: “It’s only for your benefit.” The entire universe is present here and now. Several years ago, I came across an article in The New Yorker on resilience by psychologist Maria Konnikova. She wrote, “It’s only when you’re faced with obstacles, stress, and other environmental threats that resilience, or the lack of it, emerges.” And then she asked, “Do you succumb or do you surmount?” This model is so pervasive: do we succeed, or do we fail? Those are our choices. But there is another way of seeing it. When we’re experiencing dukkha, resilience is called forth. Obstacles and stress are happening every day; there is another path free of “succumb or surmount.” Dukkha is suffering, disappointment, dissatisfaction. For most of us, it’s what’s happening throughout the day. So perhaps rather than asking whether we succeed or fail, we could ask, does this present moment create a sense of a separate self? Does it create suffering? Does it create disappointment? Does it further entrench a sense of solidity and fixedness? Does it bring forth nonvirtues: anger, greed, fear, impatience, intolerance? Or does it bring us closer? Does it soften our hearts? Does it illuminate the mind and reality? Does it bring forth those virtues of generosity and lovingkindness? Navigat ing these two options in each and every moment is the great chal lenge of Buddhist practice. Some moments are so challenging we may think, “This is not about practice. This is just a catastrophe. I’ll get back to practice later.” These are the moments when practice is most important— when we think it’s not about dharma, when it’s not an opening to