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Lions Roar : January 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2009 77 you can touch life. Life is available only in the present moment. That is why walking meditation is to go back to the present mo- ment, in order to be alive again and to touch life deeply in that moment. In order to be able to touch the earth with our feet and enjoy walking, we have to establish ourselves firmly in the pres- ent moment, in the here and the now. In walking meditation, we walk like a free person. This is not political freedom. This is freedom from afflictions, from sorrow, from fear. Unless you are free you cannot enjoy walking. I would like to propose to you a short poem that you might like to use for walking meditation: I have arrived. I am home. In the here. In the now. I am solid. I am free. In the ultimate I dwell. You might like to take two steps and breathe in and say, I have arrived, I have arrived. And when you breathe out, you take an- other two steps and say silently, I am home, I am home. Our true home is really in the here and in the now. Because only in the here and the now can we touch life. As the Buddha said, life is available only in the here and the now, so going back to the pres- ent moment is going home. That is why you take one step or two steps and you awaken to the fact that you have arrived. You have arrived in the present moment. If you are able to arrive, then you will stop running—running within and running without. There is a belief in us that happi- ness cannot be possible in the here and the now. We have to go somewhere. We have to go to the future in order to be able to really be happy. That kind of thinking has been there for a long time. Maybe that feeling has been transmitted to us from our ancestors and our parents. That is why we have to wake up to the presence of that habit energy in us and to do the reverse. The Buddha said that it is possible for us to be peaceful and happy in the present moment. That is the teaching of trista dharma sadha vihara. It means living happily right in the present moment. When you are there, body and mind united, you have an opportunity to touch the conditions of your happiness. If you are able to touch these conditions of happiness that are already available in the here and the now, you can be happy right away. You don’t have to run anywhere, especially into the future. So please when you practice walking meditation, don’t make any effort. Allow yourself to be like that pebble at rest. The pebble is resting at the bottom of the river and the pebble does not have to do anything. While you are walking, you are resting. While you are sitting, you are resting. If you struggle during your sitting meditation or walking meditation, you are not doing it right. The Buddha said, “My practice is the practice of non-practice.” That means a lot. Give up all struggle. Allow yourself to be, to rest. — MARCH, 1998 The Primary Role of Mind by His Holiness the Dalai Lama IF WE LOOK AT the teaching of the Four Noble Truths care- fully, the principal point we find is the primary importance that consciousness, or mind, plays in determining our experiences of suffering and happiness. When Buddhism talks about the nature of suffering, there are different levels of suffering. For example, there is the suffering that is very obvious to all of us, such as painful experi- ences. This we all can recog- nize as suffering. And there is a second level of suffering, which in ordinary terms we define as pleasurable sensa- tions. In reality, however, these pleasurable sensations are suffering because they have the seed of dissatisfac- tion within them. There is also a third level of suffering, which in Buddhist terminology is called the pervasive suffer- ing of conditioning. In a sense, one can say that this third level of suffering is the mere fact of our existence as unenlightened beings who are subject to negative emo- tions, thoughts and karmic actions. The very existence of being bonded to negative emotions and karma is in fact suffering and a source of dissatisfaction. If you look at these types of suffering we find that all of them are ultimately grounded in our state of mind. When we talk about the delusions that propel one into acting in negative ways, these are states of mind, undisciplined states of mind. Therefore, when Buddhism refers to the truth of the origin of suffering, we are talking about an undisciplined and untamed state of mind that gives rise to a state of unenlightenment and suffering. Ulti- mately, the origin of suffering, the cause of suffering, and suffer- ing itself can be understood only in terms of a state of mind. Buddhist teachings describe the cessation of suffering as the highest state of happiness. This should not be understood in terms of pleasurable sensation; we are not talking about happiness at the level of feeling or sensation. Rather, we are referring to the highest level of happiness, which is marked by total freedom from suffer- ing and delusion. Again, this is a quality of mind, a state of mind. Therefore, we have to understand the nature of mind. PHOTOBYDONFARBER The Dalai Lama