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Lions Roar : March 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2008 67 sick? These are the ones who know the stories, who know that they are sick, that we all are sick, and who have sympathy. They know the world is a hospital ward and we are doing nothing but tending the sick, ourselves included. Knowing this from inside, in the guts, the breath, the thoughts, perceptions, and deeds, we are not sick. In the end, though, as Daowu tells us, the True Person is beyond sick and not sick. The True Person simply “is,” and in this “is” is living and dying both, sickness and health both. So there’s no point, really, in speaking of life or death, or sickness or health. In the face of this, Daowu asks Guishan to speak, and he does. Guishan was a great Zen master and he understood Daowu perfectly. Saying something won’t explain any- thing, he says in so many words. Which is surely true. It’s like asking someone, “Please explain your life to me, I would like to understand it.” It’s not possible to explain even a moment of life. But, as Tiantong chimes in, “That may be true, but still you have to say something.” That’s true too. Not saying anything is not an option. We have to tell our story of pain and the impulse, coming out of that pain, to do good. I know that some stories seem not to be like this. They seem to involve pain, and the reflex of fear and anger, that causes someone to do much harm. This is very common. Sad though it may be, this is the world. But when you hear the stories through, and see their multi-generational vectors, you see that when we suffer pain we always find—however long it takes—the impulse to do good, and we finally act on that impulse. This is the point of practice—to confront the first truth, the truth of suffering, and to find our way to the fourth truth, the truth of the path, of doing good with a heart of love to benefit others. ♦ Visiting the sick is one of the greatest of all spiritual practices. Actually, I would like to do nothing else but visit the sick, like Walt Whitman did during the Civil War. MAR 62-67.indd 67 MAR 62-67.indd 67 12/20/07 1:53:53 PM 12/20/07 1:53:53 PM