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Lions Roar : November 2014
the Buddha gains wisdom because he is peaceful. equanim- ity is the prerequisite for liberation. the Buddha’s ability to remain poised, to counter potential distress with blessings of goodwill, demonstrates the end of suffering. His behavior rep- resents his central teaching, “Peace is possible.” the Buddha is said to have placed his hand on the ground as mara appeared, in a gesture that signified, “i have a right to be here.” as human beings, we also have the right to recognize chal- lenge, choose to override our instinctive impulses, and liberate ourselves, moment to moment, from falling into the confu- sion that is suffering. We too can recognize hindrance habits as unwholesome and override their lure. We can modulate aversive feelings so that our views are expressed as useful responses. We here IS a PraCtICe i have been working with for more than a decade. i recite, usually silently, these two sentences: May I meet this moment fully. May I meet it as a friend. these blessing phrases cultivate and sustain a mind of peace and goodwill. For me, they represent the promise of practice. “may i meet this moment fully” expresses my faith that an alert can resist the impulse to disengage when participation is appro- priate. We can recognize irrelevant alarming thoughts as the creations of fantasy that they are and put them aside. We can recognize self-doubt (although it is the subtlest of energies and masquerades as truth) and ignore it. there is a variety of special trainings or practices for develop- ing each of these skills. But the universal remedy, which is effec- tive in responding to confusion of any sort, is the training of the mind that the Buddha demonstrated under the bodhi tree. this training involves the practices of wise effort, wise concentration, and wise mindfulness. Wise effort is the ongo- ing determination to choose responses that are wholesome. Wise concentration is building, through lifestyle choices and meditation practice, enough stability in the mind to maintain and balanced mind is a possibility for human beings. “may i meet it as a friend” reminds me that my mind’s natural benevo- lence is my best refuge. although most of my daily practice has always been the simple practice of alert attention to changing experience, i often begin periods of simple sitting with some repetitions of this two-phrase mantra as a kind of mood-setter, an incliner of my mind toward relaxing. A Bad Day at the Airport What better place to work with your mind? SHAMBHALA SUN NoveMBer 2014 46