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Lions Roar : March 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN MArcH 2009 11 The Practical and the Profound welcoMe to our tenth annual Buddhist teachings issue. i’m pleased that we are able to pres- ent teachings on applications of Buddhism in every- day life that are so profound, and yet at the same time so practical and helpful. this tenth teachings issue happens to occur while we’re celebrating thirty years of bringing our readers the best of Buddhism in north america. for folks who talk a lot about being in the present moment, it might seem as if we’re making a big fuss about these historical mile- stones. they are important, but not because they turn the accomplishments of our journey into headlines. Milestones are important because they help us mark the bigger journey we’re on together, the journey of planting the genuine buddhadharma on north ameri- can soil. when you’re on a journey, markers help you wind up where you want to go. in some ways, the “steep climbing” part of this journey is pretty much over. the first stage—success- fully transplanting the traditions and lineages of the buddhadharma from their asian homelands—has been accomplished, as evidenced by the excellent zen- dos, monasteries, and practice centers of all tradi- tions that have been established here in the west. we have hundreds of thousands of serious dharma stu- dents and a generation of western teachers capable of transmitting these traditions in their own culture. surely there is still important work to do, but the ban- ner of profound practice has been firmly planted. we now find ourselves in the next stage on this journey: the spread of mindfulness and meditation practice from Buddhist communities into every area of mainstream society. this stage started decades ago with the pioneering works of our friends Jon Kabat- zinn, dan Goleman, Mirabai Bush, norman fischer, and many others, but it is now gaining momentum at an exponential rate. Mindfulness and meditation are being introduced to provide practical help for people in virtually every aspect of modern life. Millions of people who never imagined going to a Buddhist center are seeing that the benefits of practice are concrete and verifiable. this is an exciting, important, and delicate stage in the growth of Buddhism in north america. it presents an opportunity as well as a challenge. how can we make the practical benefits of mindfulness and medi- tation practice an integral part of life, while remaining faithful to the deep truths of Buddhist dharma? we’ve made a lot of progress on this journey. we no longer stop to debate the merits of “profound” versus “practical” before teaching meditation to someone who needs our help. on this point, nor- man fischer’s article in the issue gives us excellent examples of concrete impacts—what could be bet- ter than taking lawyers from “gladiator advocacy to wise counsel and healing”—while Joan sutherland delightfully reminds us of the foundational view that the practical and the profound cannot be separated. But even so, a long and tricky part of the journey lies ahead. we have to reshape our institutions and unravel the habitual patterns that make up our cul- ture. this is a tough slog in an age with very strong materialistic energy that resists, distorts, and co-opts mindfulness at every turn. how will we maintain the integrity of the buddha- dharma through the changes required to integrate it into western culture? first of all, we start by realizing that there are no guarantees about how this journey will turn out. as the stranger warns in The Big Leb- owski, “sometimes you eat the bar [bear], and some- times, well, he eats you.” as usual, it’s most helpful to keep concern for both integrity and change in the forefront of our minds, both in our individual practice and in the ways we engage the world with dharma. at the Sun, we’ll do our best to support this effort through the dis- cussions we host in these pages, on our expanding website, and at our new Shambhala Sun conferences and events, which you’ll see more of later this year on both coasts. if we could look ahead fifty years, we might well see a north american Buddhism that is known as what your great-grandchild does for fifteen minutes be- fore class starts, or as one part of her mother’s brain/ body fitness program. that’s not necessarily bad. But it might not be the main, or only, place we want this journey to wind up. for this next thirty- to fifty-year stretch, we’ll want to pay close attention to the mark- ers along the way—both practical and profound. –JaMes GiMian, puBlisher photoBylizaMatthews Zen Heart Simple Advice for Living with Wisdom and Compassion Ezra Bayda “This book is like a personal retreat. A beautifully simple reflection on what it means to be, rather than to try to be.”—Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul $21.95 hardcover Minding Mind A Course in Basic Meditation Translated by Thomas Cleary A treasury of lucid and simple meditation instructions by renowned teachers of the various Buddhist schools of China, Japan, and Korea “Clear and lively.”—Library Journal $14.00 paperback $6.95 paperback [Cover photo by Robin Holland] The Pocket Pema Chödrön A portable treasury of gems from everyone’s favorite American Buddhist nun. “Perhaps what makes Pema’s message resonate so strongly with people, no matter what their religion or spiritual path, is its universality.” —Oprah Winfrey $16.95 paperback Embracing Mind The Common Ground of Science and Sprituality B. Alan Wallace and Brian Hodel A new vision for the science of mind that embraces contemplative practice. “Shows clearly and compellingly how Buddhism and other spiritual traditions may help enrich our understanding of the mind and its role in nature.”—the Dalai Lama The Experience of Samadhi An In-depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation Richard Shankman “The Experience of Samadhi is going to become a classic, a manual and resource book lasting for generations.”—Christopher Titmuss, author of An Awakened Life and Light on Enlightenment $18.95 paperback The Pocket Chögyam Trungpa Trungpa claimed his teaching consisted in skillfully dropping “hints” that allowed students to discover wisdom for themselves. Here are 108 of his best hints. Each is potentially a spark to enlightenment. $6.95 paperback ” . New from SHAMBHALA Save 20% at www.shambhala.com or call 888-424-2329 to order by phone − −