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Lions Roar : July 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2008 22 experiencing. The more understanding we have, the more compassion we are able to generate. So the point of practicing compassion is not just to feel emotional toward an- other being, but to bind compassion with prajna or knowledge and transcend our habitual tendencies. In the beginning we feel compassion in a very dualistic way: “I am being nice to this person.” But as our practice develops, it becomes less and less dualistic and therefore more strong and profound. That’s what differentiates true compassion from “idiot” compassion. As we continue to expand our com- passion and strengthen our prajna, we are simultaneously developing other virtuous qualities: stability of mind, the ability to focus, and sheshin, a Tibetan word that could be defined as “environ- mental awareness.” Simply knowing what we’re doing further enhances the qualities of sympathy and empathy, the ability to notice more consciously how someone feels—even when she’s got our number and is calling it a lot. The ability to know how someone really feels helps sustain meditation in action, because it leads us into virtues known as the paramitas, activities that “take us to the other shore,” beyond retracting into ourselves. In offering good wishes to others, we are practic- ing generosity. Every time we remember to do this, we become more disciplined because we are bringing our focus back to the intention of our practice. Rather than becoming angry or irritated, we are practicing patience. And we are develop- ing exertion in not letting the faults of another person overcome us. Therefore we are stabilizing our meditation fur- ther. Such activity keeps sharpening our prajna, which deepens our understanding of why we are on the path. This is how we strengthen our inherent wisdom. Steeping our mind in compassion for even ten minutes every morning has the power to transform us throughout the day, no matter what we are doing. We become fearless because now we can carry virtue into action, which improves any environ- ment. As a result, we are happier people. ♦ VISIT THE SHAMBHALA SUN ONLINE GALLERY www.shambhalasun.com ALL PROCEEDS SUPPORT OUR MOVE TO ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE PAPER WITH RECYCLED CONTENT AND CERTIFIED BY THE FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL. Stunningly beautiful archival quality giclée prints of dharma art such as this Kuan Yin from the cover of the Shambhala Sun. At the Shambhala Sun Online Gallery, you’ll find artwork by renowned artists such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Kaz Tanahashi, Barry Blitt, Tatjana Krizmanic, John Bigelow Taylor, and Chögyam Trungpa. THE SHAMBHALA SUN FOUNDATION, PUBLISHERS OF THE SHAMBHALA SUN AND BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY SEATED KUAN YIN BODHISATTVA FROM THE NELSON-ATKINS MUSEUM OF ART, KANSAS CITY, MO. PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMISON MILLER. CHINESE, 11TH/12TH CENTURY; WOOD WITH PAINT. PURCHASE: NELSON TRUST, 34-10. Bring Home theArtYou Love from the pages of the Shambhala Sun Enrich your world with art that expresses the dharma. Available now from the Shambhala Sun Online Gallery www.shambhalasun.com VISIT THE VIISIT THE SIT THE SSHHHAMBHALA AMBHALA SSUN ONL UN ONLL S MUS M HAM HAM JULY 18-39.indd 22 JULY 18-39.indd 22 4/25/08 11:56:44 AM 4/25/08 11:56:44 AM