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Lions Roar : July 2010
that "Mommy is there" or that "Daddy is there." Later on, you might find that the person sitting next to you is a nuisance and you want to divorce him or her. That's because it's not truly his presence or her presence that gives you that feeling of re- laxation, but your own ideas and desires. Love, in Buddhism, always begins with yourself, before the manifestation of the other person in your life. The teaching of love in Buddhism is that when you go home to yourself, you recognize the suf- fering in you. Then the understanding of your own suffering will help you to feel better, and to love, because you feel the completeness, the ful- fillment in yourself. So you don't need another person to begin to love. You can be- gin with yourself. True love does not just choose one person. When true love is there, you shine like a lamp. You don't just shine on one person in the room. That light you emit is for everyone in the room. If you really have love in you, everyone around you will profit-not only humans, but animals, plants, and minerals. Love, true love, is that. True love is equanimity. So it's less a matter of ex- panding the love we now feel than shifting the very basis of our love, from need to self- completeness? Right. When we look deeply, we recognize ances- tors, parents, cultures, society, everything, In us. A lot of Buddhist teachers talk about the principle of interdependence in abstract terms, but I found it very helpful to look at the specific influences, both positive and negative, that made me who I am now. I think that the teaching can be made simple, and even children can under- stand it. This morning, we were led in is in you. Your father is fully alive in ev- ery cell of your body, and the suffering of your father is still there in you. That is the kind of practice that can bring the insight of inter-being, of no-self. It can liberate you from your anger, if you have anger toward your father, and so on. Why do we meditate on these non-self ele- ments within us not only with insight but with love? Insight and love, they are the same. In- sight brings love, and love is not possible without insight, understanding. If you do not understand, you cannot love. This insight is direct under- standing, and not just a few notions and ideas. In medi- tation we allow ourselves to be shined on by the light of that insight. Sometimes it helps to have an image so that you can tru- ly understand. For example, I described to the children that it is hard for the plant of corn to see that at an earlier mo- ment she was a grain of corn. But that is the truth, and if you really see that way, you have the insight of inter-being be- tween the plant and the grain of corn. Because without the grain of corn, how could the plant of corn be? The same thing is true with father and son, mother and daughter. If this truth is touched through meditation, then hate and anger will vanish, and love becomes possible. It is amazing that the first dharma talk given by the Buddha is still relevant to our time. In it we find enough teachings to follow all our lives. Sister Chan Khong led us in a meditation to develop aware- ness of the various causes and conditions, such as our parents, culture, and spiritual mentors, that have made us who we are and that still live within us. Why is that helpful? The self is made only of non -self elements, and it is the insight of non -self that can lib- erate us. We are made of non-us elements. 48 SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2010 a meditation about the family elements alive within us: "Within me I see my fa- ther as a five-year-old child, five years old, vulnerable. I smile at him with compassion." That kind of visualization can help us touch the truth of non -self. When you know you are made of non- you elements, you know that your father ""d ::r: o """Ì o I:d >-< I:d o Z z ........ trI ........ trI C/'J Z trI ?J ""d þ'" tJ You are a master of the Zen tradition, with a deep knowledge of other schools of Buddhism as well, yet during this entire program of teachings you have made only one tangential reference to Zen. Instead, you have taught ex- elusively on the basic tenets of Buddhism, such as mindfulness practice and the four noble truths. Why have you chosen this approach?