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Lions Roar : January 2014
So if you know how to listen mindfully, the Buddha never stops teaching. The Earth is a beautiful expression of his teach- ings. The wind, flowers, and trees continue to teach imper- manence and no-self. That is the body of the Buddha—the body of truth that never dies. So if you have mindful eyes and ears, you continue to see the Buddha. This corresponds to the notion that the kingdom of God is available in the here and the now. We could even help Christians change the notion of the kingdom of God. God can be the dharmakaya, the true body of the Buddha. Some people say that once someone reaches enlightenment, they no longer produce karma. What do you think of that? Karma is action. When you produce a thought, that’s karma, either good or bad. When you say something, that’s karma. When you do something, that’s karma. When you are enlightened, your karma can only be good karma. You have no discrimination, no anger, and no fear, so what you think, what you say, and what you do can only bring good results. The end of samsara means the end of negative things. Why would we wish good things to stop? We want good things to continue. Our practice is to have the good things con- tinue for a long time. That’s good karma. If you look at the Buddha, you see he is still operating. He’s teaching, he’s doing, because his disciples are his continua- tion. So the Buddha is still producing karma—good karma! So you cannot say that the Buddha, because he is enlightened, has stopped producing karma. That’s not true. In Buddhism, the Buddha, the community of practitioners, and the teachings are known as the three jewels. How do we relate to them? The three jewels are inside of you. You have the Buddha in you. It is your capacity to wake up, to understand, to love. If someone has plenty of these things, he or she is a Buddha, and we want to have as many buddhas as possible. You have the dharma in you. There must be a method to pro- duce compassion, understanding, and freedom, and that is the dharma. The dharma in you may be weak or strong, according to your practice. Then, in order to produce the powerful energy of enlighten- ment, compassion, understanding, you need a sangha, a com- munity. You build a sangha and together you help each other nourish the Buddha and the dharma in you. The three jewels are very concrete. They are not objects of belief. You cannot deny the existence of the three jewels. They are not something outside of you. They are inside of you. The Bud- dha is not on a cloud. The Buddha is awakening, understand- ing, and compassion, and you have buddhanature. Practice helps buddhanature grow and that protects you. That is your refuge. It’s very scientific. There is a Buddhism of devotion, in which people think of the three jewels as outside of themselves, as being above them or beyond them. That belief helps them. But there is a deep Buddhism—a Buddhism of practice—where you can generate the energy of the Buddha for yourself and for your community. There is a tendency to lose deep Buddhism for devotion Bud- dhism, so we should try to help the Buddhism of practice last. Otherwise, Buddhism becomes a religion like other religions, which are about relying on a superior power to save us. As part of your North American tour, you’re going to meet with the CEOs of some leading technology companies. What do you think of business leaders and employees learning meditation? We don’t have to worry whether meditation is being misused to make money. Meditation can only do good. It doesn’t just help you calm your own suffering. It also gives you more insight into yourself and the world. If your business is causing environmen- tal problems and you practice meditation, you may have ideas about how to conduct your business in such a way that you will harm nature less. When you experience the wisdom brought about by meditation, then naturally you want to conduct your business in a way that will make the world suffer less. So don’t worry about whether meditation is serving a wrong cause. It can change a wrong cause to a good cause. How do you view competition in business, politics, and our personal lives? Many of us believe that you can only be happy when you leave other people behind, when you are number one. But you don’t need to be number one to be happy. [Laughs] I don’t want to be number one. We have to reconsider our idea of happiness. Even if you are suc- cessful in making more money, you still suffer. Maybe your compet- itor doesn’t make as much money as you do, but they are happier. So do you choose to be happy or to have the other kind of success? To be happy is the real success. When you are happy, you don’t need to compete anymore. You compete because you are not happy. The practice of meditation can help you suffer less and be happy. In our society, it feels like everything’s speeding up and people are feeling overwhelmed. The problem is that people believe that happiness is in the future. But if you stop speeding and running, you can find hap- piness right in the here and the now. There is no true happiness without peace. If you continue to run, how can you have peace? We are running away from ourselves, our families, and nature. That is our society today. We are afraid of going home and tak- ing care of ourselves. We do not have the time to take care of our beloved ones. And we do not allow Mother Earth to heal us. We lose ourselves in our little devices. But companies could 62 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2014