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Lions Roar : March 2015
BEGINNER’S MIND What is “beginner’s mind”? As Zen teacher Suzuki Roshi famously said, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” When we start to learn anything for the first time, we are fresh, curious, and open to all possibilities. Our mind is not yet solid with concepts, opinions, and certainties. This begin- ner’s mind is awakened mind itself, which is beyond concepts and opinion. It is the “don’t know” mind that is the essence of meditation, and we should never lose it. On the other hand, when we’re just starting our encounter with Buddhism, it is always helpful to learn more about the dharma and to get some advice about our practice. This page will answer the most common questions of people who are starting their exploration of Buddhism. May you always be a beginner. What should I do with my eyes when I meditate? In some schools of Buddhism, you meditate with your eyes open and in others you keep them closed. If your eyes are open, what you do with them depends on the kind of meditation you’re doing. Generally, you look ILLUSTRATIONSBYNOLANPELLETIERRAYFENWICK DHARMA FAQS We answer your questions about Buddhism & meditation. BUDDHISM BY THE NUMBERS These four truths are called noble because they liberate us from suffering. They are the Buddha’s basic teaching, encapsulating the entire Buddhist path. 1. Suffering Life always involves suffering, in obvious and subtle forms. Even when things seem good, we always feel an undercurrent of anxiety and uncertainty inside. 2. The Cause of Suffering The cause of suffering is craving and fundamental igno- rance. We suffer because of our mistaken belief that we are a separate, independent, solid “I.” The painful and futile struggle to maintain this delusion of ego is known as samsara, or cyclic existence. 3. The End of Suffering The good news is that our obscurations are temporary. They are like passing clouds that obscure the sun of our enlightened nature, which is always present. Therefore, suffering can end because our obscurations can be puri- fied and awakened mind is always available to us. 4. The Path By living ethically, practicing meditation, and develop- ing wisdom, we can take exactly the same journey to enlightenment and freedom from suffering that the buddhas do. We too can wake up. — Melvin McLeod SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2015 36