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Lions Roar : January 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN jANUAry 2011 79 times I am stopped in my tracks—what! where did that come from? The book’s oddly paradoxical nature (though Suzuki doesn’t make a point of this, it is always present) flows naturally from his nondual teaching. There is no goal and no means. Enlightenment and the path to enlighten- ment are the same thing: practice is en- lightenment, and practice/enlightenment is life. So practice is not as much some- thing to do or hold in mind as it is the let- ting go of anything to do or hold in mind. Meditation in Action seems on the sur- face to be a much more pointed and orga- nized text. It is divided into seven chapters with straightforward descriptive Buddhist titles like Patience, meditation, Wisdom. Each chapter seems to be about its intend- ed topic, and more or less is. But like Suzuki Roshi, Trungpa Rinpoche is always making the point that what you think is wisdom, or patience, or meditation, isn’t what that thing actually is. Practice, he is saying, isn’t something that gets you from point A to point B. maybe you aren’t at point A to be- gin with, and the point B you think you are aiming for probably doesn’t exist anyway. In Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind you feel the quiet voice of a kind roshi; Medita- tion in Action’s voice is that of a sharply intelligent master of the teachings. oddly, despite the fact that he often uses pictur- esque stories from the Tibetan tradition, Trungpa Rinpoche’s voice doesn’t sound at all Tibetan. It comes across as the op- posite of pious or wise in the convention- al sense. It’s sharp, witty, almost cynical, even as it speaks of compassion and kind- ness. There is an almost aggressive anti- sentimentalism. Both books in their anniversary editions include new afterwords by students— his biographer David Chadwick for Suzuki Roshi, and Samuel Bercholz, the founder of Shambhala Publications, for Trungpa Rinpoche—who can speak personally to the histories of these great texts and their authors. In many ways, the basic founda- tional understandings of Western Bud- dhism were established by the terms and attitudes of these seminal texts, which is why they are as readable and valuable now as they were then. ♦