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Lions Roar : September 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2006 15 ma when she ate bacon as “part of my Bud- dhist practice, not in spite of it.” She eats it because it smells and tastes “good.” But no- where in the Buddhist scripture is harming others for personal pleasure ever justified. The bodhisattva, looking at all beings with eyes of kindness, is the antithesis of the predator, but we have all been taught to eat and act like predators by our culture, and we delude ourselves with many of our socially-induced rationalizations, as Jones rightly points out. A “Vajra-tarian” must in the end be a vegan: aspiring bodhisat- tvas naturally see beings when they look at beings; they do not see mere objects to be commodified, mutilated, confined, and killed for unnecessary and self-serv- ing pleasure. Aspiring bodhisattvas, like vegans, are not accidents. Will Tuttle, Ph.D. Healdsburg, California Noa Jones’ honest exploration of her own motives and intentions regarding eating meat was inspiring. My own reason for being a vegetarian is really quite simple: I do my best to refrain from hurting or killing animals for the same reason that I would refrain from hurting you or taking your life—because I love you. Ifyouweretotakebirthasacow,apig,afish or a bird, likewise, I’ll never intentionally cause you to experience fear or harm. If you appear as a spider or a fly in my home, I’ll do my best to get you outside without injuring you. As long as I am aware of this love which has awakened within me through grace and practice, I’ll do my best to recognize you whenever and wherever you appear in my world. I’ll do my very best to treat you with the deepest respect and kindness. And who is this “you” I speak of? It is also me. It is love itself. It is the awakened buddha in each of us. Jeff Harris Winnetka, California ALL-BUDDHIST TEACHINGS ISSUE I have been a student (and sometimes serious teacher) of world religions and philosophies. My study of Buddhism has included attending meetings and temple services, and I have read magazines, jour- nals, and books on Buddhism. What I nev- er had was a concise, well written article on the subject. “What the Buddha Taught,” by The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche (May 2006 ), was the most comprehensive offer- ing on this subject that I have ever seen. It flows from the Hinayana to the Mahayana to the Vajrayana and the state of perfect enlightenment. All of this information is presented chronologically and includes the places where the dharma was taught. The article also explains what can be so easily missed, namely, the indicative and the de- finitive meanings in those teachings. This article fills in many of the voids. Name Withheld by Request The annual Buddhist teachings issue im- mediately became a part of my personal library. I’ve re-read Ezra Bayda’s fine arti- cle, “The Art of Awareness,” several times, struck by his fundamental question: “What does it mean to be awake?” In its purest form, I believe haiku poetry reflects the state Mr. Bayda is describing. Writing good haiku takes the awareness and balance of a dragonfly perched on a tickseed flower. This is the poetry of mind- fulness, taken from direct experience. Haiku is seventeen syllable Zen, aiming at “the heartfelt sense of connectedness”: Dusk at the mangroves, A pelican feeds her chicks, Her beak wide open. Writing haiku can be an effective sup- plement to a meditation practice, and, perhaps, can help lead to the “sense of presence and hereness” that is a compo- nent of an awakened life. Kevin McLaughlin Palm City, Florida A SENSE OF PEACE I chanced on the March 2006 issue of Shambhala Sun at a local bookstore. The cover picture of Thich Nhat Hanh and an inside picture of monks and nuns on page 57 led me to buy the magazine for the first time. Surprised I was! I spent many days reading every article and every advertisement in this issue. Boy, the magazine is good stuff! I also sense a kind of peace as I handled the magazine from cover to cover and thought perhaps the Zen and serene layout has something to do with this feeling. In any case I cannot wait to lay my hands on the next issue. Congratulations once again for a job well done and for a well-produced magazine. Diana Tan Singapore ♦ Get over it, Todd—it’s called the human condition.