using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : January 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2012 50 What do you think makes someone a Buddhist? A person may not be called a Buddhist, but he can be more Buddhist than a person who is. Buddhism is made of mindful- ness, concentration, and insight. If you have these things, you are a Buddhist. If you don’t, you aren’t a Buddhist. When you look at a person and you see that she is mindful, she is compassionate, she is understanding, and she has insight, then you know that she is a Buddhist. But even if she’s a nun and she does not have these energies and qualities, she has only the appearance of a Buddhist, not the content of a Buddhist. Can a ceremony make someone a Buddhist? No, it’s not by ceremony that you become a Buddhist. It is by committing to practice. Buddhists get caught in a lot of rituals and ceremonies, but the Buddha does not like that. In the sutras, specifically in the teaching given by the Buddha right after his enlightenment, he said that we should be free from rituals. You do not get enlightenment or liberation just because you perform rituals, but people have made Buddhism heavily ritualistic. We are not nice to the Buddha. Do you have to believe in reincarnation to be a Buddhist? Reincarnation means there is a soul that goes out of your body and enters another body. That is a very popular, very wrong notion of continuation in Buddhism. If you think that there is a soul, a self, that inhabits a body, and that goes out when the body disintegrates and takes another form, that is not Buddhism. When you look into a person, you see five skandhas, or ele- ments: form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and con- sciousness. There is no soul, no self, outside of these five, so when the five elements go to dissolution, the karma, the actions, that you have performed in your lifetime is your continuation. What you have done and thought is still there as energy. You don’t need a soul, or a self, in order to continue. It’s like a cloud. Even when the cloud is not there, it continues always as snow or rain. The cloud does not need to have a soul in order to continue. There’s no beginning and no end. You don’t need to wait until the total dissolution of this body to continue—you continue in every moment. Suppose I transmit my energy to hundreds of peo- ple; then they continue me. If you look at them and you see me, well, you have seen me. If you think that I am only this [points to himself], then you have not seen me. But when you see me in my speech and my actions, you see that they continue me. When you look at my disciples, my students, my books, and my friends, you see my continuation. I will never die. There is a dissolution of this body, but that does not mean my death. I continue, always. That is true of all of us. You are more than just this body because the five skandhas are always producing energy. That is busy, what he liked to do the most was just to sit and do nothing. Because to sit and to do nothing is a pleasure—you restore your- self. That’s why the Buddha described it as like sitting on a lotus flower. When you’re sitting, you feel light, you feel fresh, you feel free. And if you don’t feel that when you sit, then sitting has become a kind of hard labor. Sometimes if you don’t have enough sleep or you have a cold or something, maybe sitting is not as pleasant as you’d wish. But if you are feeling normal, experiencing the pleasure of sitting is always possible. The problem isn’t to sit or not to sit, but how to sit. How to sit so that you can make the most of it—otherwise you’re wasting your time. You put a lot more emphasis on enjoyment—on enjoying breath- ing, sitting, walking, enjoying life altogether—than many other Buddhist teachers do. In the teachings of the Buddha, ease and joy are elements of enlightenment. In life, there’s a lot of suffering. Why do you have to suffer more practicing Buddhism? You practice Buddhism in order to suffer less, right? The Buddha is a happy person. When the Buddha sits, he sits happily, and when he walks, he walks happily. Why do I want to do it differently from the Buddha? Maybe people are afraid that others might say, “You are not very serious in your practice. You smile, you laugh, you are having a good time. To practice seri- ously you have to be very grim, very serious.” Maybe the people who want to get more donations put it like that—to leave the impression they practice more seriously than other people. Take the practice of sitting all night. You aren’t allowed to rest and you think that is intensive practice, but you suffer all night and drink coffee in order to stay awake. That’s nonsense. It’s the quality of the sitting that can help you transform, not sitting a lot and suffering while you do. Sitting and walking meditation are for enjoying, and also for looking deeply and developing insight. That insight can liberate us from fear, anger, and despair. I really enjoyed the outdoor walking meditation we did on this retreat. Usually in the Buddhist tradition, you sit, and then you stand up and do slow walking in the meditation hall, and then you sit again. We don’t do that here. Instead, we do outdoor walking. That practice is helpful because you can apply it in your daily life. You walk normally—not too slowly—so you don’t look like you’re practicing and people see you as normal. And then when you go home, when you’re going from the parking lot to your office, you can enjoy walking. The basic practice is how to enjoy—how to enjoy walking and sitting and eating and showering. It’s possible to enjoy every one, but our society is organized in such a way that we don’t have time to enjoy. We have to do everything too quickly.