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Lions Roar : March 2006
identity as a Buddhist will tend to confuse the matter for others. There is a reason that we don't talk about "Christian physics" or "Muslim al- gebra," though the Christians invented physics as we know it, and the Muslims invented algebra. Today, anyone who em- phasizes the Christian roots of physics or the Muslim roots of algebra would stand convicted of not understanding these dis- ciplines at all. In the same way, once we develop a scientific account of the con- templative path, it will utterly transcend its religious associations. Once such a conceptual revolution has taken place, speaking of "Buddhist" meditation will be synonymous with a failure to assimilate the changes that have occurred in our un- derstanding of the human mind. It is as yet undetermined what it means to be human, because every facet of our culture-and even our biology itself-re- mains open to innovation and insight. We do not know what we will be a thousand years from now-or indeed that we will be, given the lethal absurdity of many of our beliefs-but whatever changes await us, one thing seems unlikely to change: as long as experience endures, the dif- ference between happiness and suffering will remain our paramount concern. We will therefore want to understand those processes-biochemical, behavioral, ethical, political, economic, and spiritual-that account for this difference. We do not yet have anything like a final understanding of such processes, but we know enough to rule out many false understandings. In- deed, we know enough at this moment to say that the God of Abraham is not only unworthy of the immensity of creation; he is unworthy even of man. There is much more to be discovered about the nature of the human mind. In particular, there is much more for us to understand about how the mind can trans- form itself from a mere reservoir of greed, hatred, and delusion into an instrument of wisdom and compassion. Students of the Buddha are very well placed to further our understanding on this front, but the religion of Buddhism currently stands in our way. . CHAGDUD GONPA FOUNDATION S A wide variety of exquisite thangkas and statues Tibetan and English-language prayer flags Dharma books Nyingma texts and translations Meditation supplies Teachings on tape All proceeds go to support Chagdud Gonpa Foundation. Special offer: mention this ad and receive a free gift on the your first order. Offer expires 5/30/06. Call (877)479-6129, toll free or (530) 623-3706 for a free color catalog. www.tibetantreasures.com SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2006 79