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Lions Roar : May 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2009 47 third noble truth. Whatever discomfort we feel—subtle, in- tense, or somewhere in-between—subsides to the degree that we cut through our fixation upon a very limited, conditioned, and conditional view of ourselves and begin to identify with the capability to experience anything at all. eventually, it’s possible to come to rest in buddhanature itself—the way, for instance, a bird might rest in coming home to its nest. at that point, suf- fering ends. there is nothing to fear, nothing to resist. not even death can trouble you. jOYFUL WISDOm You will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in over- coming obstacles. — he Len KeLLeR Within our perceived weaknesses and imperfections lies the key to realizing our true strength. By facing our disturbing emotions and the problems that occur in our lives, we discover an experience of well-being that extends outward as well as inward. had I not faced the panic and anxiety I felt through most of my youth, I would not be in the position I find myself today. I would never have found the courage or the strength to get on a plane, travel around the world, and sit before an audience of strangers passing on the wisdom I’d learned not only through my own experience, but the experiences of the truly great masters who were my guides and teachers. We’re all buddhas. We just don’t recognize it. We are confined in many ways to a limited view of ourselves and the world around us through cultural conditioning, family upbringing, personal experience, and the basic biological predisposition toward mak- ing distinctions and measuring present experience and future hopes and fears against a neuronal warehouse of memories. Once you commit yourself to developing an awareness of your buddhanature, you’ll inevitably start to see changes in your day-to- day experience. things that used to trouble you gradually lose their power to upset you. You’ll become intuitively wiser, more relaxed, and more openhearted. You’ll begin to recognize obstacles as oppor- tunities for further growth. and as your illusory sense of limitation and vulnerability gradually fades away, you’ll discover deep within yourself the true grandeur of who and what you are. Best of all, as you start to see your own potential, you’ll also begin to recognize it in everyone around you. Buddhanature is not a special quality available to a privileged few. the true mark of recognizing your buddhanature is to realize how ordinary it really is—the ability to see that every living creature shares it, though not everyone recognizes it in him- or herself. So instead of closing your heart to people who yell at you or act in some other harmful way, you find yourself becoming more open. You recognize that they aren’t “jerks,” but are people who, like you, want to be happy and peaceful. they’re only acting like jerks because they haven’t recognized their true nature and are over- whelmed by sensations of vulnerability and fear. Your practice can begin with the simple aspiration to do better, to approach all of your activities with a greater sense of aware- ness and insight, and to open your heart more deeply toward others. motivation is the single most important factor in deter- mining whether your experience is conditioned by suffering or by peace. Wisdom and compassion actually develop at the same pace. the more attentive you become, the easier you’ll find it to be compassionate. and the more you open your heart to others, the wiser and more attentive you become in all your activities. at any given moment, you can choose to follow the chain of thoughts, emotions, and sensations that reinforce a perception of yourself as vulnerable and limited—or you can remember that your true nature is pure, unconditioned, and incapable of At any given moment, you can choose to follow the chain of thoughts, emotions, and sensations that reinforce a perception of yourself as vulnerable and limited—or you can remember that your true nature is pure, unconditioned, and incapable of being harmed. phOtOBYKaRmaLechO/teRgaR