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Lions Roar : March 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2008 15 Letters to the Editor IF THERE’S NO MEDITATION, IT’S NOT YOGA While I appreciate Shambhala Sun’s publishing an in- terview with hatha yoga teacher Rodney Yee (January, 2008), I am dismayed to once again find yoga con- ceptualized as postural practice! To ask if he “began yoga before beginning meditating” perpetuates this misunderstanding. Sadly, Rodney only offered a half- correction when he said, “In some ways yoga is medita- tion.” Until recently, if you spoke of “yoga and medita- tion” in India, you would be met with the perplexed query, “But are they two?” For millennia before the arising of hatha yoga, yogis (such as the Buddha) practiced yoga primarily by meditating. Patanjali’s Yo g a Sutra is a concise model of yogic practice that would be extremely familiar to any Buddhist practitioner (who practices yoga every time she takes her seat on the cushion). It wasn’t until about 1,000 years ago that the postures (asanas) Westerners now think of as “yoga” began to be practiced as a separate form known as “hatha yoga.” If you practice asana without the foundation of meditative mindfulness, you may be exercising, but it is not yet yoga. Rev. Pobsa Frank Jude Boccio Tucson, Arizona BEYOND THE LADIES’ MAN Leonard Cohen is in many ways the victim of his own well-cultivated image, and it seems no one writing about him now can avoid the trap. Cohen presents many paradoxes, in his life and particularly in his recent Book of Longing, which invite serious probing from a Buddhist perspective. Yet his life of Buddhist practice seems always to be a somewhat cursory side note to the far more important questions of what his apartment looks like, who drops by while he’s being interviewed, and perhaps what he’s wearing. I had hoped the Shambhala Sun (November, 2007) might have carried an article that put the ladies man/ celebrity aside—as he himself has done for several years—and examine things such as the rigors of his practice, or the relationship between Buddhism, his identity as a Jew, and the prevailing, but seemingly paradoxical, notion of God in his work, or whether Rinzai koan practice was particularly appealing or successful for him as a poet. But that ladies-man image is a hard one to avoid. And perhaps Cohen likes it that way. “Do not decode / these cries of mine,” he writes. “They are the road / and not the sign.” Chris Warren Toronto, Ontario WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE ONONDAGA “Gratitude: Where Healing the Earth Begins” (Septem- ber, 2007), which was excerpted from the new edition of my book World as Lover World as Self, contains some errors due to my own negligence. In describing what I learned from the Onondaga Nation, I made the follow- ing mistakes: The Thanksgiving address from which I quoted lasts an hour and a half, not a week. The name of the teacher who shared it with me is spelled “Freida” and she is of the Turtle Clan. The sun is addressed as Elder Brother, not Grandfather. And the remarkable legal step the Onondaga Nation has taken, in going to court to secure the cleanup of its ancestral lands, is not a “claim” so much as a land rights action. My apologies to readers of the Shambhala Sun, as well as to the Onondaga people, who have so greatly inspired me by their teachings and conduct. Joanna Macy Berkeley, California EVERY WORD IS TRUE Imagine my surprise and delight in seeing the photo of Sylvia Boor- stein, Jack Kornfield, and myself in your article about our dear Sylvia (January, 2008). It’s all true, you know, every word and more about this woman who shines brightly with, through, and as loving-kindness. your article PHOTOBYMICHALVENERA Rodney Yee MAR 1-17.indd 15 MAR 1-17.indd 15 12/19/07 2:01:48 PM 12/19/07 2:01:48 PM