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Lions Roar : September 2011
41 SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2011 are always laconic, rough, and full of affectionate slang and jokiness, and relationship itself—with all its glitches and con- tradictions—is often the subject matter. So, contrary to expec- tations, Zen stories may have something fresh to say about the tricky and problematic nature of relationship. A few stories might illustrate: Longtan made rice cakes for a living. But when he met the priest Tianhuang, he left home to follow him. Tianhuang said, “Be my attendant. From now on I will teach you the essential dharma gate.” After a year, Longtan said, “When I arrived, you said you would teach me. But so far nothing has happened.” Tianhuang said, “I’ve been teaching you all along.” Longtan said, “What have you been teaching me?” Tianhuang said, ”When you greet me, I bow. When I sit, you stand beside me. When you bring tea, I receive it from you.” Practicing Together When a couple sees their relationship as practice, their love is grounded in a deeper knowing of one another. Even in tough times, says NORMAN FISCHER, practice brings them back to appreciation and affection.