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Lions Roar : January 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2007 57 ally see the bone as the end result of birth, birth as the end result of karmic formation, karmic formation as the end result of craving, and so on. Thoroughly convinced by the logic of cause, condition, and effect, they begin to apply awareness to every situation and every moment. This is what we call medi- tation. People who can bring us this kind of information and understanding are venerated as masters because, even though they have profound realization and could happily live in the forest, they are willing to stick around to explain the view to those who are still in the dark. Because this information lib- erates us from all kinds of unnecessary hiccups, we have an automatic appreciation for the explainer. So we Buddhists pay homage to the teacher. Once you have intellectually accepted the view, you can ap- ply any method that deepens your understanding and real- ization. In other words, you can use whatever techniques or practices help you to transform your habit of thinking that things are solid into the habit of seeing them as compounded, interdependent, and impermanent. This is true Buddhist meditation and practice, not just sitting still as if you were a paperweight. Even though we know intellectually that we are going to die, this knowledge can be eclipsed by something as small as a casual compliment. Someone comments on how graceful our knuckles look, and the next thing we know we are trying to find ways to preserve these knuckles. Suddenly we feel that we have something to lose. These days we are constantly bom- barded by so many new things to lose and so many things to gain. More than ever we need methods that remind us and help us get accustomed to the view, maybe even hanging a human bone from the rearview mirror, if not shaving your head and retreating to a cave. Combined with these methods, ethics and morality become useful. Ethics and morality may be second- ary in Buddhism, but they are important when they bring us closer to the truth. But even if some action appears whole- some and positive, if it takes us away from the four truths, Siddhartha himself cautioned us to leave it be. THE TEA & THE TEACUP:WISDOM WITHIN CULTURE The four seals are like tea, while all other means to actual- ize these truths—practices, rituals, traditions, and cultural It is not the act of leaving behind the material world that Buddhists cherish, but the ability to see our habitual clinging to this world. Scenes of Vulture Peak Mountain, where the Buddha first taught the Heart Sutra, which expanded the basic truth of nonself into the Mahayana teaching on emptiness. ➢ page 115 PHOTOSBYJOSEPHSZOSTAK