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Lions Roar : January 2014
MANY OF US TURN TOWARD the spiritual path because of our disillusionment with the world we live in. Some of us have felt disillusioned for as long as we can remember. Even as children, we saw that the world does not match up to what we’ve being told. For others, disillusionment may start to sur- face as we grow into adulthood. We feel that everyone else is made happy by a hypocritical world that makes us miserable. Why is that? What is wrong with us? We may self-medicate by using drugs, alcohol, sex, or food to escape the reality of our lives. Others just “give it a go,” trying to fit into our families, our workplaces, and our social circle the best that we can. In the process, we ignore our inner experience. We self-medicate with denial. If our disillusionment becomes too much to bear, we should consider ourselves lucky. In the Buddhist teachings, we say that human life is precious. But life is most precious when we wake up and want to do something about our pervasive feelings of unhappiness. As a result of our disillusionment, we aspire to make a meaningful change in our lives. Often, this manifests as the desire to live in a more genuine way. One common idea is that being “genuine” means expressing ourselves with sincerity—stripping away all pretenses and being in the world “just as we are.” We begin to strip away the layers of personality we’ve built up like a shell to protect us from painful realities. We make our first step toward genuine living. Many Westerners have come to associate this quality of living genuinely, openly, and honestly with the Buddhist path. This is one of the most beautiful ways Buddhism has interacted with Western culture. Buddhism is an authentic means of transfor- mation, and when we take the practice seriously we start to notice changes in ourselves, our attitudes, and our habits that we thought were impossible. In Search of the Genuine Feeling disillusioned with this artificial world is the starting place of the spiritual path, say ANYEN RINPOCHE and ALLISON CHOYING ZANGMO. They offer a Buddhist take on the genuineness we long for. PHOTOBYTONYSHI 23 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2014