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Lions Roar : November 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2006 117 our new place 825 Sonoma Avenue Santa Rosa,California (707) 544-0540 po Box 2972 Santa Rosa, California 95405 John Tarrant Bring Me the Rhinoceros and Other Zen Koans to Bring You Joy PZi Director + Author of The Light Inside the Dark registrar @ pacificzen.org (707) 538.9340 (7am-7pm) zen INSTITUTE PACIFIC www.pacificzen.org One-Day Koan Seminar Nov 11 7-Day Autumn Retreat Oct 14—21 + zen for real life photo with guanyin shot by Michael Sierchio in SanFrancisco samOvar tea Lounge apr.06 roshi Zen is not about what you believe. It’s about how you experience your life. Sometimes the ocean is calm, like a beau- tiful mirror; sometimes there are storms and high seas. These are the ups and downs of life—joys and sufferings, diffi- culties and successes, destructive and con- structive areas of your life—but the depth of the ocean always remains unchanging. If you can free yourself from being the slave of your own thoughts, even in the midst of sorrows, you have a much bet- ter chance to live a flourishing life. That’s where real happiness lies. RICHARD GERE: One of the biggest problems we have in this culture is that we don’t meet people who have developed themselves through the kind of hard work you’ve been talking about. That’s why you were so blown away when you first met Tibetan meditators of the highest order. You saw that there was another way to live. As I grew up, I experienced that the bar of acceptability for how one is to be a human being was set extremely low. We see that constantly. We see it in our lead- ers. How many of our leaders are people we want to emulate? MATTHIEU RICARD: We’ve had many years of inverted mind training! RICHARD GERE: It’s possible to raise the bar, though. Tibetan teachers love teach- ing Westerners because they say they work really hard, ask tough questions, don’t just follow blindly, and have good minds and a lot of energy. This could be an extraordinary time for us to evolve and change how we’ve done things. We could demand more of our leaders and participate more in societies that foster wisdom and compassion, which should be our gross national product. That’s what Tibet was, an experiment in creating a whole culture and soci- ety dedicated to generating wisdom and compassion, and these high lamas were the leaders. People could look up to them and say, “If I do the work, I can become like that.” That’s why the Tibetans have been so embraced when they’ve come to the West. People look and say, “Wow, that’s possible.” It is possible, and the technique is there. These teachers have shown us the road. MATTHIEU RICARD: It’s very em- pirical. If you take the trouble to look within your own mind, you can see the effect that your mental toxins have on others. That’s how the great teach- ers have done it. You want happiness. When you are jealous of others, you are not jealous of their suffering; you are jealous of their happiness. RICHARD GERE: You end each of your chapters with a simple medita- tion. Perhaps we could end by having you lead one. MATTHIEU RICARD: OK. Since noth- ing is more natural than our breath, we could link a meditation on compassion with our breathing. Say to yourself, “May all beings be free from suffering. May my suffering stand for all the suf- ferings of all beings.” When you breathe in, gather everyone’s suffering and add it to yourself. Don’t let it become an unnecessary burden. Dissolve it in your heart in a mass of brilliant light. When you breathe out, say, “May all the happi- ness I have experienced, all the positive things I have done, be given to all be- ings.” Do that again and again. Let tak- ing everyone’s suffering liberate you. By changing your attitude, you will slowly be able to also change your environ- ment. Not only do you achieve well- being, but your compassion increases when you interact with others. If we do it again and again, it will become sec- ond nature and we will discover an al- together new way of being with others. [long pause for meditation] RICHARD GERE: That was quite won- derful. I don’t know how to follow that. I for one have really enjoyed this, being with all of you here. I’m going to think a lot about this. My heart feels very open and warm right now. Thank you. MATTHIEU RICARD: Thank you very much for your generosity. ♦ © 2006 92nd Street Y Happiness is... continued from page 73