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Lions Roar : May 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2007 15 THE BODY/MIND DEBATE Though I am pleased to see Shamb- hala Sun continue the yoga and Buddhism dialogue (March 2007), I was struck by the oversimplifica- tion of both systems. To reduce yoga to a mere physical practice perpetuates the current misun- derstanding of yoga as nothing other than an exercise regime. Yoga is a diverse range of prac- tices that focuses as much on ethics and psychology as the body. Can we really separate mind and body practices? Anyone who has practiced sitting meditation or in- vestigated the Buddha’s early teachings knows that the Buddha addressed the body continuously through- out his career. Putting systems in dialogue is how we create flexible, democratic, and healthy communities, but it is important to watch where we encase terms like yoga or Buddhism in boxes that are too narrow. I am unsure if Patanjali, the attributed author of the seminal Yoga Sutra, or even the Buddha himself would agree that one could have a yoga body and a Buddha mind, since these systems equally address the importance not only of an interdependent mind and body, but also the importance of leading an ethical life—a topic not discussed in the yoga and Buddhism conversation and one of the more important features of contemporary spiritual practice. Michael Stone Toronto, Canada FOR RICHER & POORER? Maybe I missed the point of Melvin McLeod’s edi- torial (“From Munich to Kyoto,” March 2007), but I don’t see how generosity—and I would add compas- sion—will make us poorer. I guess it depends on how one defines wealth. As long as I continue to struggle to lead a middle-class existence, maintain high expectations, and strive for a higher standard of living, I will remain spiritually poor and certainly not a part of a solution. To me, the answer is for me to give up my pursuit of happiness, my strong desire for security, and find joy and a sense of cel- ebration through maintaining a “beginner’s mind,” free from pos- sessing anything. Robert Nervraumont Davis, California Thank you for the excellent editorial and articles about our environmental crisis in the March issue. They remind- ed us that this crisis is both very personal, requiring sacrifice, and at its heart spiritual, requiring vision. The Shambhala Sun is in a unique position to bring increased attention and awareness to these aspects of this multifaceted crisis, called by many the defining issue of our time. David Garrett Halifax, Nova Scotia One day, hopefully within our lifetimes, the global crises at hand shall be resolved because people de- veloped the appropriate means to maintain—indeed, expand—abundance around the globe in a way that is sustainable. There seems to be no other recourse. A growing group of cultural creatives around the world are already committed to this. A lot of the technology is currently available, if only the greedy deceivers in control would recognize the benefit of fostering it as an asset, rather than squelching it as a threat to their self-interests. Malcolm Clark Occidental, California I noticed an interesting contradiction in two articles in your January 2007 issue. In the last paragraph of the interview with Daniel Gilbert, “Stumbling on Happiness,” Gilbert says that in the imagined para- dise of the Garden of Eden, life “used to suck. Women were oppressed, children were used like cattle, people raped, pillaged, and plundered, everybody lived to Letters to the Editor