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Lions Roar : March 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2008 26 mine, or anyone’s—has a legitimate role in all of this. I can, however, attest that the best parent- ing advice I’ve ever received has come in the form of my koan practice. It is the kind of ad- vice that is clear, consistent, and actionable. As a student in the lineage of Taizan Maezumi Roshi, who held transmission in both the Soto and Rinzai traditions, I have spent the last ten years inching along through successive koan collections. When and if I finish, my training will comprise 750 koans. I’ll encounter some of these teaching stories several times, because they are included in each of the ancient collec- tions we use. By far, the koan that appears most frequently is the classic, “What is the meaning of Bodhidharma coming from the West?” Sometimes it is asked more directly, as in, “What is the meaning of Buddhism?” Each time I come face to face with this koan, I try to answer it. I expend all my in- sight and experience. I turn the question one way and then another. It is alarming and disappointing that after all these years of practice, I’m still not able to deduce the right answer. The giant of ninth-century Chinese Zen, Joshu, famously responded to this question by saying, “The cypress tree in the garden.” Joshu, more than any other parenting guru, tells me precisely how to resolve the question I’ve raised here. What does it mean to be a Buddhist parent? Today, in your life as a parent, you might see Joshu’s cypress tree many times and in many ways. The milk spilled on the table. The crayon on the wall. A note from the teacher. The dirty clothes on the floor. A battle over bedtime. A kiss goodnight. Through your own eyes, animated by your own intuitive action, the course becomes clear. Any parent, regardless of their beliefs, awakens to the whole of Buddha’s teaching by not knowing what it means. ♦ “THE FILM HAS A LOT OF CHARM, IS SINCERE AND WINNING.” —TENZIN BOB THURMAN A remarkable film visiting the sacred sites of the Dalai Lamas in Tibet. A pilgrimage with translator and author Glenn Mullin, this fascinating journey explores the caves where the early Buddhist masters meditated, enters the monasteries where the Dalai Lamas and others taught, and — at an altitude of over 16,000 feet — looks down into the famous Oracle Lake of Lhamo Lhatso where every Dalai Lama has had prophetic visions. The sacred sites include: Potala, Jokhang, Drepung, Nechung, Drak Yerpa Valley, the caves of Songsten Gampo, Atisha and Guru Rinpoche, Samye Monastery, Lambhu Lagang Castle, Ani Sanku Nunnery, Lama Tsong Khapa meditation cave, Tranduk, Kangyur Stupa, Terdak Lingpa, Tashi Lumpo, Champa Zhishi, Sakya, Chokhor Gyal, Milarepa’s Cave, and the Oracle Lake. A Film by Michael Wiese | Music by National Geographic composer Steve Dancz (CD is available) DVD-2 hours including 20 minute interviews with Glenn Mullin and Khenpo Tashi $24.95 ~ £17.95 | ISBN 1932907211 | Order through Amazon or www.mwp.com or in the UK www.wisdom-books.com | To arrange a film screening: firstname.lastname@example.org MAR 18-41.indd 26 MAR 18-41.indd 26 12/19/07 2:34:10 PM 12/19/07 2:34:10 PM