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Buddhadharma : Summer 2019
GEOFFREY SHUGEN ARNOLD 89 be from within this moment, be it a moment or a sustained effort. How do we find peace now? One last thing from Konnikova’s article: she writes, “Though not especially gifted, these children used whatever skills they had effect ively.” That’s important. It’s easy to dwell in how things would be different “if only...” If only we were smarter, braver, younger, more creative, less complicated, then we wouldn’t struggle so. In zazen, we meet each moment in acceptance and nongrasping. This helps us develop a clear and honest sense of our karmic self, which leads to accepting ourselves for who we are without creating definitions and identities from our strengths and limitations. When I was younger and pursued first mathematics and then music as career paths, I didn’t believe I would be highly accom plished at either. Knowing myself and my abilities, I didn’t feel I had that kind of talent or gift. But what I did know was that I loved both subjects, I wanted to go as deeply into them as I could, and I like to work wholeheartedly. On that basis, I threw myself into my studies and work. I didn’t aspire to be highly accomplished; I wanted to live a life dedicated to something I loved and believed was essential, and within that, to accomplish all I could in this lifetime. My life within the dharma has been much the same. We each decide where we put our energy, what paths we pursue, what we concentrate on. This is why training is so powerful—we’re constantly meeting the need to be resilient. How many times have you been defeated? How many times have you thought, I can’t? How many times have you thought, This is just the way I am? And then—and then—you take another step and the path opens before you. Training offers us wisdom practices, teachings, and forms for walking the way of buddhas and ancestors. Within the three treas ures, how can we be most skillful and effective to move toward lib eration, to reclaim the realization that enlightenment has never been absent? This is our inheritance—to understand that in every moment this is for your benefit, this is for my benefit.