using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : September 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2011 30 to forgive anything, to enjoy anything she did. I had been converted to a new religion. Everyone wants a life-changing experience— something that allows us to see how green is the grass, how fragile are the pear blossoms, how lumi- nous is the girl’s cheek, how disappointing it is to be right or superior to others, and how eternal and welcoming is the moment that is always in flight, never to return. The kiss was personal and par- ticular, and it was a transcendent moment too, a moment when no one was running the show and no calculations were being made. Buddhism typically holds itself aloof from love, puts love in the too-hard basket, but the difficult bits of life, the exciting ones, are often the gates to what is real and good. The moment of love takes away the walls around the world and a larger aspect of the universe is seen. It is a creative time. I once asked the Australian poet Judith Wright, “How is it when you write?” She replied, “The pen shakes in my hand.” In poetry and pop songs, love is fatal, an arrow through the heart. We’re driving in a fast car—too late to stop now, it can’t be reversed—and the old life that hitherto seemed perfectly adequate can no longer be lived. In the mythology of Zen, too, the image of transformation is that a fire burns you up, or there’s a snake on the path and you can’t avoid it. You lose your life and everything else as well, like the scholar who, on awakening, burned all the notes he had ever taken. Love and enlightenment are both fatal discoveries. The respectable view is that falling in love is full of delusions, projections, and misunderstandings. But if we reverse that idea, we can ask, how is love actually very much like enlightenment? Let me count the ways... 1. FALLING Love hits people over the head when they are not looking for it, and the same can be said for epipha- nies and enlightenments. We fall into them. An opening appears in regular life, and what follows doesn’t necessarily fit in regular life. That opening changes your frame of reference and then, well, anything might happen. Both awakening experi- ences and falling in love always seem to be followed by a period of sorting things out and discovering the implications of what happened. One sorting strategy is to spend time trying to repeat the enlightenment by falling in love with a succession of people, or looking for a blissful state in meditation. Efforts like these are hopeless but you can try them anyway. Conversely you could look for a way to express the new orientation in your life and find out the implications of the new point of view. You might assume that the implication is that you have to marry and have children and stay together for the rest of your life. That might be so, but it might not; love isn’t dependent on outcomes. You might notice that love is what really counts in life and that could mean you get a different job, spend more time with friends, forget about being famous, come out as gay, or shave your head and go into a long retreat. Both love and enlightenment are in favor of whatever welcomes more life. Looking at the implications is what Buddhists call having a practice. Falling in love is the begin- ning of a practice. 2. LOVE IS UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING Here is Tolstoy near the end of War and Peace: The whole meaning of life, not only for him, but for all the world, seemed to consist only in his love and the possibility of her love for him. Everyone appeared in the bright light of the feeling shining within him, so that without the least effort, meeting any person whatever, he at once saw in him all that was good and worthy of love. “Maybe I did seem strange and ridiculous then,” he thought, “but I wasn’t as insane as I seemed. On the contrary, I was more intelligent and perceptive then than ever, and I understood JOHN TARRANT, ROSHI, directs the Pacific Zen Institute, has a Ph.D. in psychology, and after teaching Zen in a traditional way for twenty years, has developed a new way of teaching koans that opens them to people with no experience of meditation. He is the author of Bring Me The Rhinoceros & Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life. PHOTOBYROGERJORDAN