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Lions Roar : May 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2009 39 delight here and there, craving existence, craving nonexistence. The camera zooms in on Suze’s face and her teeth are bared and her cheeks are rounded like a temple guardian’s. a stamp appears at an angle on a screen just as it would on a loan application. “Denied!” she snarls, gleefully. “here,” she says, “I’ll say it again, Denied!” and again the camera focuses on her lips and bulging cheeks and the stamp reappears. The camera pans back, she smiles for the new mo- ment, and on we go: “ruth, in Cincinnati. What’s up, girlfriend?” Suze believes in giving you information, and in encouraging you to get information. In her world you earn what you get; ac- cording to her bio she started out as a waitress and lived for a while in a bus. now that we don’t have lots of money, our dream world has become a form of suffering that makes no sense. People want someone to explain that these are new times, more sober and perhaps more understandable. Suze is not dispensing fi- nancial advice, she is dispensing reason. In this way her show helps to redefine what kindness can be. This is one of the roles of a goddess in disguise—an encounter with her makes suffering comprehensible, which is why we seek such an encounter. after teaching that suffering exists and comes from ignoring cause and effect, Suze begins to teach the third noble truth—that a change of heart is possible. You might find you don’t need every- thing you think you need. It might be good not to get the Maserati, because grasping is itself a kind of suffering that continues even after you have the car. and if you are not distracted by the car and how to pay for it, you might set off after freedom. This is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it. Most people appreciate money because it’s useful. Yet there are plenty of unhappy rich people, who are trying to buy their own personal Truman Show. So awakening is even more useful than money. Waking up is a different way of understanding in which all the meanings change. To wake up is to notice what is really going on and what we really want. Meanwhile, in India Under the influence of the gods in disguise, the Buddha tried hard to escape from the delusions of the Truman Show he grew up in. he tried to escape physically, by leaving home in the dead of night, and mentally, by meditating. The problem at first was that wherever he went, he took his delusions with him. Medita- tion can be just as full of wanting and greed as life at a palace. So after pushing this path to its logical end, which in Buddha’s case turned out to be exhaustion and near starvation, he stopped everything. he stopped doing and started noticing. noticing is the beginning of the end of suffering. But the story needs another emissary from the heavens, and she arrives, as a milkmaid, in the nick of time. her name is Su- jata and she is one of the Buddhist heroines. The milkmaid has a dream in which she is instructed to milk many cows and feed the milk to half that number and to milk them, and feed the milk to half that number and so on. She takes the rich milk and mixes it with rice and carries it in a golden bowl into the forest. This is as far as her dream instructions have taken her, so it is an act of trust when she walks into the woods with the bowl of milk. Suze asks the man who wants a Maserati, “You are going to mortgage your house for a car you don’t even need?” This is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: craving.