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Lions Roar : May 2009
65 SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2009 For 30 Years the Best of Buddhism in America: In Conversation and poverty and murder, we live in that kind of universe. The wound that does not heal—this human predicament is a pre- dicament that does not perfect itself. But there is the consolation of no exit, the consolation that this is what you’re stuck with. Rather than the consolation of healing the wound, of finding the right kind of medical atten- tion or the right kind of religion, there is a certain wisdom of no exit: this is our human predicament and the only consola- tion is embracing it. It is our situation, and the only consolation is the full embrace of that reality. What about love, though? I believe we know that love is a terrible wound itself, and that it presents a bewildering landscape to stumble over. Love is a fire: it burns everyone, it disfigures everyone, it is the world’s excuse for being ugly. I think in people’s hearts they understand that the heart is cooking like shish kebob in your breast, and no matter what you do, the passions come and go and they sear you, they burn you. If it’s not your lover, it’s your children; if it’s not your children, it’s your job; if it’s not your job, it’s growing old; if it’s not growing old, it’s getting sick. This predicament cannot be resolved. That is the wound that does not heal, and rather than approach it from the point of view of stitching or cauterizing it, there is a kind of wisdom of living with the wound. You’re talking about acceptance. I would dissolve every approach. I would just say that there is no escape. Acceptance is too good a word for this predicament. It suggests a kind of resigned, sage-like approach. You can’t get off the hook by finding the right word—acceptance, resigna- tion, embrace. All those things are lies about it. Then what about compassion? You know, we come up with all kinds of things, but still the wound does not heal, still the reality is suffering. We come up with all kinds of new drugs, all kinds of new approaches. Yes, there are all kinds of human decencies to embrace, and we should really try to be nice to one another, but nothing dis- solves this sense of irritation and unsatisfactoriness that we all feel. Nobody gets over that. JANuARY, 1994 Pema Chödrön & Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche Pema Chödrön: When we engage in self-reflection and see how our habitual patterns and actions are not in sync with our inten- tion, we can turn the self-reflection against ourselves. One of the things that I’ve learned from you, Rinpoche, that has been so help- ful for me is to see that none of what we seek is permanent. All that we seek is like shifting, impermanent clouds, and behind all that the mind itself is workable. The underlying state of openness of mind has never gone away. It has never been marred by all the ugli- ness and craziness we’re seeing. That’s the message of the buddha- nature teachers, like Maitreya. That message needs to be sent strongly: when you look at yourself, yes, you see the awfulness, and yes, it’s not comfortable to see it, but it’s passing, it’s impermanent. Our mind is workable; we are not simply stuck with that stuff. Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche: That is true. But it is also true that you are not going to get anywhere if you have not done the work. Nobody deserves credit if they haven’t done the work. If you do the hard study and practice, then you see the infinite possibilities of changing the mind. If you just complain about your state of mind, it simply means you’ve never got around to doing the work. So, phOTOBYALISONWRIghT