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Lions Roar : September 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2012 90 SHAMBHALA SUN FOUNDATION An independent, nonprofit corporation. Publishers of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. Choose from this collection of prints taken from the pages of our magazines. The selection includes works by such teachers, artists and contributors as New Yorker cartoonist David Sipress, Thich Nhat Hanh and Kaz Tanahashi. Visit the Shambhala Sun Online Store www.shambhalasun.com Buddha Shakyamuni, Courtesy of Wisdom Publications and Schneelöwe, Aitrang, Germany Archival Quality Dharma Art Prints at Great Prices it—it is better to fix it. However, we may be stuck with a stressful situation we can- not change. In that case, we still have the option of changing our attitude. We need to be realistic and honest with ourselves so that on one hand, we do not hold back when we could act, and on the other hand, we do not act just to do some- thing, when there is no benefit in doing so. In looking at your external situation, there is no need to cover up problems or look at the world through rose-colored glasses. But you also do not need to stew and fret over all the world problems you are bombarded with daily in the news or let yourself be mentally glued to the end- less vicissitudes of ordinary living. When the great Cambodian teacher Mahagosananda was asked how he main- tained his cheerfulness and equanimity in light of the violence and horrors of the Khmer Rouge he had gone through, he smiled and said, “Life is full of ups and downs.” There is great teaching in that statement. If we take that kind of attitude, we can release some of our heavy-handed expectations about how life is supposed to go for us, which frees us to deal more simply with whatever we encounter. If our experiences are just what they are, nothing more and nothing less, we can see that they are not out to get us nor are they a confirmation. They are simply the impersonal play of causes and conditions. This attitude is different from passiv- ity or detachment in the negative sense of disengagement, defeatism, or fatalism. It instead points to a form of engagement with the world that is intelligent and not merely reactive, that is realistic rather than dreamy. To paraphrase the great Mahayana teacher Shantideva: When you can do something about a problem, then just do it. Why worry about it? And when you do not have the ability or the circum- stances to do anything about a problem, why worry? Worrying and stressing about it is not going to help anyone. TRAINING THE MIND AND HEART What I like about Buddhism is that it is so practical and hopeful. You may be