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Lions Roar : September 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2011 59 THE HUMAN REALM is said to be the realm of passion. Passion is what holds us together; con- fused passion is what entraps us and transformed passion is what can liberate us. Although our pas- sion is often tainted by the tendency to grasp or possess, in essence it is accepting of others. Passion is attraction, whereas aggression is rejection. In the traditional Buddhist iconography of the six realms of being—the hell realm, hungry ghost realm, animal realm, human realm, jealous god realm, and god realm—each realm is associated with a particular buddha. In the human realm, the buddha carries an empty bowl, a poignant state- ment of the experience of emptiness, longing, and incompleteness so many of us experience. When I think of the early monks and nuns going about their daily begging rounds, I think of the two sides of human passion: our insatiable hunger and the power of connecting with one another. There seems to be a continuum of passion, extending from a pinched passion rooted in emp- tiness, desperation, and neediness, on one extreme, to an open and free-flowing passion rooted in full- ness, confidence, and appreciation on the other. But there is never a moment in which passion is absent; we are swimming in it. The challenge is to figure out how to spend less of our time trapped in the constricted form of passion and more of our Loving Everyone