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Lions Roar : March 2015
KAZUAKITANAHASHI downward and shorten your gaze when you’re doing meditations to calm and concentrate the mind. You lift your eyes and expand your gaze when you’re meditating on openness and the environment around you. A good approach to calm abiding (shamatha) meditation is to look slightly down- ward and focus about six inches from your nose. Your gaze is relaxed and soft, neither too tight nor too loose. You can also use your eyes to help with obstacles. When your mind is scattered, lower and shorten the gaze; when your mind is dull, raise your gaze and take in more space. Why is it important to give up attachment? Jack Kornfield said it really well in a recent tweet: “Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.” The Buddha taught that all conditioned phenomena are impermanent, that all meeting ends in parting. A Zen master put it simply: Everything breaks. Attachment is our unwillingness to face that reality. We suffer, and make others suffer, when we try to hold onto things after their time, whether it’s relationships, experiences, or just the previ- ous moment. Accepting their true, transient nature eases our fears, opens our hearts, and benefits ourselves and others. Nonattachment is neither indifference nor self- denial. Ironically, letting go of attachment is the secret to really enjoying life and loving others. It is freedom. What does “Rinpoche” mean? Rinpoche is an honorific used for important teachers in the Tibetan tradition. It literally means “Pre- cious Jewel.” When a teacher is called “Rinpoche” it usually means they are a tulku, who has been recognized as the reincarnation of a prominent master. He (and, rarely, she) is trained from childhood in Buddhist study, practice, and ritual, and takes over the respon- sibilities of the previous incarnation when the training is complete. This is the most common form of succession in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Occasionally, exceptional practitioners are given the title Rinpoche later in life to honor their accomplishment (and are often retroactively recognized as tulkus). The honorific Rinpoche is distinct from the title lama, which means “teacher” and is bestowed after the completion of a program of meditation, study, and retreat. Tell us what you’d like to know about Buddhism and meditation at