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Lions Roar : May 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2007 47 Are you concerned that if you embrace the word Buddhism, it would change the experience into something more formulaic and less alive? Yes. I’m just not interested in labels. I find all of them constric- tive. They’re hard to wear. And they’re hard to wear because we’re always—hopefully—growing. Not only that, there are so many teachers in the world today of many different stripes. The world is a marvelous place of learning, from every possible direction. Does that make this a fortunate time to be living in? We live in the best of all times. Why is that? There’s so much to do! [Laughs.] We are so lucky. There’s no shortage of work to do! [Laughs.] There’s no excuse for anyone, in my opinion, to complain that they can’t change anything. For instance, there are millions and millions and millions of hungry children, people who don’t have clothing, people who don’t have housing, trees that are begging us to let them live, rivers that are crying out to be clean, skies that are shouting at us to let the ozone layer live. There is no end to the ways we can have full self- realization. That’s what has to happen, and that’s what this time is pointing out. This is the time to have full self-realization as an earthling. It’s time to be responsible and take charge of that. It’s also a great time because if we fail, we lose the earth. Is self-realization the spiritual philosophy at the center of your life and work? Self-realization is certainly up there, and of course true self-real- ization comes with a realization of the connectedness to all, the inseparability of the self and the all. That leads one to understand oneself as an earthling, not an American, Canadian, African, or Indian. Beyond that I realize myself as the cosmos, the universe, the whole thing. How can we not be the whole thing? [Pause.] As I sit and look out at the trees, I know clearly one day that’s where I’ll be. Hallelujah! You touch upon so many different influences in your book: the I Ching, the Tao, meditation, yoga, and so forth. In your life and practice, does Christianity have a place? I love Jesus; I think Jesus was wonderful. However, I think he has been distorted terribly. I want to see the wizardry of Jesus re- stored. I want to feel his dancing quality and his joyfulness. It’s a terrible thing that they have left him in that tortured, naked con-