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Lions Roar : March 2006
Letters to the Editor LISTENING IN It's always illuminating to look inside Pema Chödrön's mind. I've never seen her look so beautiful as she does in the pages of your January 2006 is- sue, and I can't wait to get start- ed on her new book, No Time to Lose, which you excerpted there. She is, without doubt, a living inspiration. And what a joy to discover her new teacher, Dzigar Kongtrul, through their dialogue ("Let's Be Honest"). If he's "messing with her," imag- ine how much their combined conversation resonates with the rest of us, stimulating our self- reflection and growth. Dzigar said, "... one of the most important things we can do is inspire people to do the work they need to do to discover their innate possibilities." I was truly inspired by him. It was as if I were listening in to their private conversation. Thank you so much for allowing me to eavesdrop. Baji Daniels Atlanta, Georgia LOVE, RENEWED Thank you, John Welwood, for your article "The Perfect Love We Seek; The Imperfect Love We Live" ry 2006). Since reading that article, my prac- newed and all my relationships have been Your article inspired the kind of inner para- ift that causes major changes in people's lives. now see that I was "looking for love in all the rong places." Linda Lukens Petersen Rochester, Indiana AS WITHIN, SO WITHOUT Eva Wong describes feng shui as emerging from the basic idea of kanyu, an idea of the interdependence of mind and environment ("Energies in Balance," No- vember 2005). I would like to thank Ms. Wong and the Shambhala Sun for making this principle clear. All too often feng shui is explained in more dualistic terms, in which we are the separate and helpless objects of essentially external forces. Oddly enough, the article itself seems to describe land-forms to the exclusion of thought-forms. The beau- tiful illustrations only underscore this external emphasis, implying that the phenomena in question take place in nature rather than in the interplay of mind and nature, or in mind as part of nature. To externalize these phenomena is both to trivi- alize them and to inflate them. On the one hand, it reduces them to something very like a Western me- teorologist's idea of "wind" or "lightning;' something that happens "out there." But since these land-forces don't quite follow the same rules as the physical weather, they must be considered paranormal. As such, we can either believe in them or dismiss them as a superstition. If we reduce the vital interactions of mind and world to mysterious exterior forces, we may puff them up into powerful genies and monsters. Terrible as they might appear, such creatures are really quite comfortable projections of our inner hopes and fears, made more comfortable by the fact that we can hire someone else to deal with them. When geomancy ignores the agency and the obligations of the mind and teaches us to worry about an external supernatural, it may actually blind us to the real, animate connections between inner and outer worlds. More than one Buddhist has been troubled by the simple materialism (whether material or spiritual) that seems to drive so much feng shui practice. By bringing her deep knowledge to a forum like the Shambhala Sun, and by grounding it in a concept like kanyu, Ms. Wong has initiated a serious Buddhist reflection on the arts collected as feng shui. Emanuel Jannasch Halifax, Nova Scotia