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Lions Roar : May 2007
WE HAVE BEEN BORN into an imperfect world, characterized by unpredict- ability and adversity, as finite human beings who have foibles, make mistakes, get confused, and think irrationally. There is much to contend with, and our ability to prevent or circumvent difficulty is quite limited. We aren’t omnipo- tent beings, and while we try to protect ourselves and maintain order in our lives, we simply don’t have the ability to safeguard ourselves from its disasters. It is self-evident that the natural world doesn’t behave in a predictable way or do our bidding. We can see this in the recent examples of the Indian Ocean tsunami and the hurricane that decimated New Orleans. Natural disasters have occurred repeatedly in the past and are likely to continue to do so in the future. Millions of people have lost their lives, are losing their lives, and will lose their lives to disease: the typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and bubonic plagues of the past; the HIV epidemic of the present; and so on. Even at a personal level, many things go awry, and our efforts to complete projects are constantly thwarted and disrupted by sickness, mental distress, and all kinds of deception and mis- treatment by others. SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2007 37 Training the Mind to Transform Adversity into Awakening Buddhism’s mind-training slogans help us work with all the challenges of life, from the upheavals of our own emotions to the inevitable losses and disappointments of this imperfect world. TRALEG KYABGON RINPOCHE explains how obstacles can be brought to the spiritual path and become opportunities for awakening. ARTWORK BY ANDRA SAMELSON