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Lions Roar : September 2013
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2013 51 The Buddhist perspective as presented in the Pali canon con- tains elements of all three views. Some passages describe the mind as vitally “luminous” and capable of remarkable feats. Other passages detail inherent dispositions toward unskillful- ness, such as the three defilements (greed, aversion, ignorance) and the hindrances. The tabula rasa view is embedded in the concept of karma, for the Buddha emphasized that our actions, not any inherent dispositions, are what plant our future mind states and “incarnations.” Perhaps the most useful understanding is that we have a remarkable ability to detach from our impulses and habitual behaviors, whether inherent or learned. We have the ability to observe an inclination without acting on it until we’re convinced it is harmless and in our long-term interest. Regardless of what constitutes human nature, we are the judge and jury. We can fol- low our own road to happiness. JOSH KORDA has been the teacher at New York Dharma Punx since 2005. He would like to acknowledge his indebtedness to Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Andrew Olendzki in developing this reflection. Does the Buddha Change? Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow... nothing perturbs him. Now, asks CAROLYN ROSE GIMIAN: What about you? In our family, we say that we found the Buddha at J.L. Concrete Ltd. Is he a he-Buddha? A she-Buddha? An androgynous Buddha? I don’t really know, but we call him “he.” We’re fond of him, and we move him from one part of our garden in the summer to a special location for the winter. There we can observe him from the house when it’s too cold to go out. We always give him a stand to sit on and a rock to focus his gaze. I worry that he might get bored without his rock. But his gaze never shifts, rock or no rock. The seasons change around the Buddha. Does the Buddha change? This is my contemplation, and one that I might recom- mend to you. I started photographing him last summer, then over the winter, and now I’m starting to take photos of spring Buddha. I find that I like the Buddha with snow on him. When it rains, I want to shelter him, but that is silly. I find that the Buddha is different every day, but that he also doesn’t change. Watching Buddha through the seasons is teaching me some- thing about the changing and the unchanging. Fat Buddha, thin Buddha, happy Buddha, sad Buddha, old Buddha, young Bud- dha. Buddha on the subway, Buddha in my backyard, Buddha reflected in my eyes. It is an interesting experiment—I don’t know if it qualifies as a practice—to pick something and watch it through the sea- sons, or through the day, or through some other cycle. Does it change? Do you? Who is changing? What is changing? What stays the same? Is change good or bad? I say to myself: Just watch the Buddha and find out. So far I’ve come up with two “insights”: 1) I can see the Buddha in the garden, but I don’t perceive the Buddha within all that much. 2) What is improvement? Making a better home for the Buddha? That might be it! I suggest you draw your own conclusions... CAROLYN ROSE GIMIAN has edited many of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s books, including Smile at Fear and his Collected Works. She is currently working on a book of his mindfulness teachings. ♦ PHOTOSBYCAROLYNGIMIAN and you could use a little improvement...