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Lions Roar : March 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2009 66 even when it was being practiced by laypeople. Over time many established centers have actively encouraged the development of householder practice, while new ways of practice have emerged that don’t make the monastic assumption at all. But there’s still a pretty strong, often unconscious bias toward cloistered practice, with householder practice seen as an adaptation of it. When in- ner conflict meets institutional authority, it can create an inertia that’s difficult even to see clearly, let alone question. Let’s do it anyway. Why do many of us assume that this split is inevitable? Why, in point of fact, do many of us experience it that way? What is the nature of longing? Is it just that humans are wired to yearn for the thing that isn’t there? Is it instead a deep desire for wholeness? Is it the symptom of something not yet resolved or out of balance in the ways we practice—a symptom that, if we paid attention to it, might lead to greater health? are we unwilling to accept that true apprenticeship offers a great deal and also asks for sacrifice? How does longing relate to aspira- tion and to bodhichitta, the desire for enlightenment so that one can be helpful to others? What about when the longing, the feeling that something is missing, eventually drops away, because, whatever the circumstances, nothing seems to be missing anymore? The more we don’t take the split between the cloistered and the daily for granted, the more a rich field of inquiry opens up, as many have discovered. Individuals and practice com-