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Lions Roar : May 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2006 13 COLES’ QUESTION Reading the profile of Dr. Robert Coles (January 2006), I recalled Dr. Coles’ powerful impact on me more than twenty years ago. I was a searching and sheltered teenager when I signed up for “Moral and Social Inquiry,” the first of my two courses at Har- vard with Dr. Coles. His opening lecture moved me to tears. The readings he assigned, and his commen- taries on the ethical and existential issues they ad- dressed, stunned me. He widened my awareness and thus altered the course of my studies and my life. The first time I heard him speak, Dr. Coles con- densed into six words the longing that led me to his teachings and, later, to the dharma. He posed a simple and mystifying question, a koan of sorts—the crux of our existence—that I cannot forget or answer yet. Leaning over the lectern in his ragged sweater, he asked: How do you live a life? Judith Masslo Anderson Burke, Vermont NOT HIM AGAIN When I opened my March 2006 issue and saw an article by Sam Harris, I thought, “Oh no, not him again.” Then I thought, “Why am I getting defensive? Who or what am I defending?” Cer- tainly the ultimate does not need my puny de- fense. So Mr. Harris, I wish you luck and suc- cess in destroying all of our tribal gods. Mary Jane Phalen Rahway, New Jersey BE HEART SMART Pema Chodron’s commentary on The Way of the Bodhisattva (“No Time to Lose,” January 2006) was thought-provoking and inspiring. As one who has diligently attended to my demon thoughts and sabo- teur voices, her analogy of the kleshas [afflictive emo- tions] as drug pushers resonated with me. As these distractions have lessened with committed attention, I find that my habits are changing from affliction- driven to consciousness-driven, and that this new pattern has become easier the more I engage it. Her commentary on verse 32 thus could be re- stated: The more we run our patterns anchored in consciousness, the stronger they get. And, of course, the stronger they get, the more we run them. As this chain reaction becomes harder to interrupt, our ex- perience of freedom becomes more intense, until we feel the chains of kleshas fall around our ankles and we walk with an enlightened heart. Succinctly stated, it is the formation of a new, con- scious pattern and its corresponding effects that have enabled me to grow a more peaceful and joy-full heart. Dorothy Bosteder Seattle, Washington DON’T BELIEVE IT I was enjoying Susan Piver’s article on commitment in marriage (“I Do?” March 2006) until I arrived at the final paragraph. Early in her article she talks about the folly of projecting onto your partner, and she makes some thought-provoking statements about the transient nature of commitment. But then she ends her article with “But when you find your true love, there is some- thing inside that says ... of course to him ... I do.” Whoa. What fairy tale did she suddenly start chan- neling? Any monk from any tradition could shred the notion of “true love” being embodied in a person— and in fact, Thich Nhat Hanh does a fair job of it a little later in the same magazine. Letters to the Editor KEITHABBOTT,ANDRÉSLOB