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Buddhadharma : Summer 2019
GEOFFREY SHUGEN ARNOLD 87 liberation. In moments when we might be experiencing real threats— real obstacles from inside or outside over which we have no con trol—we should bring forth the question “Does this bring me closer or does it create more distance?” That’s why we chant the bodhi sattva vows every day: to bring forth in our minds the possibility that exists in each moment. The scientific studies Konnikova wrote about in her article found several elements that predicted resilience. A resilient child might have a strong bond with a supportive caregiver, parent, teacher, or some other mentorlike figure. These early experiences cultivate a sense of confidence, trust, and faith in ourselves and in the world around us. We learn from good examples. I was thinking about this in terms of sangha and how we practice together, seeing all the different ways people live their lives, practice, and respond to cir cumstances. Through seeing others develop themselves, our sense of our own capacity expands. This is training: to constantly press into our own sense of limitations, of confinement and constriction, of the limits of what we believe is possible. Another determinant of resilience had to do with how children respond to their environments. “From a young age,” Konnikova wrote, “resilient children tended to meet the world on their own terms.” We’ve all been told who we are in a hundred thousand ways. In resilience, we do not accept that. We are not content to be told what our life is about or how we are supposed to live it. It doesn’t mean we should disregard all those things; there’s a lot of truth and wisdom that comes to us through others. But we must discover and see for ourselves, which means we must be willing to enter into the unknown. The Buddha said that to be free is to see all things as they are without projection, beliefs, attachments—to meet things, self, and other as they are. Konnikova went on to say, “these children were also autonomous and independent. They would seek out new experiences and had