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Lions Roar : March 2015
the words again, on down the mountain. He never saw me among the pines. I remained still as the whistling faded. Some resistance in me followed the whistling away and I was suddenly filled with a great and inexplicable love for this stranger singing in the morning. For the silent trees around me. The welling love burst me, or rather there was in that instant no me to burst, only the forest, the mountain, the teeming, sun-misted valley all humming and huge and breathing itself. Times later (seconds, hours, eons) I found myself again, shaking, tears run- ning freely down my face. Whence this vast exhausting unconditional love? I used to marvel at the story of St. Tarci- sius, whose name seemed a little like mine, who was martyred holding the Host against his breast. I felt this burn- ing joy in my own breast as I methodi- cally and neatly gathered my things and walked home, the whole way, ignoring the bus, past farms and dogs and the outlying hamlets. By the time I got home, dusty and quiet, I had banked the coals of that fire into a corner of my inner hearth. This was not an occasion for exalted self-feeling. It was not forced, though initially I had tried to force it. It was not reasoned attention to nature or to myself but an experience to which I could avail myself only by dropping any pretense of a participating individuality or self. And I had to drop it without thinking about dropping it. The completion, the presence, brooked no inner nor outer sensibility, no being part of nor being apart from. I never spoke of the experience. I never questioned its reality, but, as I had with similar ones when I was younger, I learned not to say much about them. Imagine my shock of recognition when I discovered these lines in Wordsworth’s Prelude: Oft in these moments such a holy calm Would overspread my soul, that bodily eyes Were utterly forgotten, and what I saw Appeared like something in myself... I was not alone. No one is alone. This is the first understanding. ♦ Supporting Your Spiritual Practice The Monastery Store meditation cushions Buddhist statues incense & altar supplies Dharma books & audio monasterystore.org 845.688.7993 Receive $10 off your next mountain seat purchase when you mention this code: MTNS-SS14. SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2015 75