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Lions Roar : January 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2010 55 A new generation of practitioners waits to take the reins from their baby boomer elders. AnDreA Miller profiles six young Buddhists bringing new issues, styles, and passions to the dharma. wonderful balance that i’m very happy with. But finding balance was my struggle for the past seven, eight years.” not long after completing her masters in international af- fairs and sustainable development, Morey began working for the World Bank in the central energy unit. she was part of a team coming up with ways to invest in renewable energy projects and developing climate change strategies. the problem was, she says, “i got frustrated with the bureaucracy and the slowness. nothing was actually getting done.” fed up, she took a position with Clean energy group (Ceg), which she describes as a classic think tank dedicated to developing cleaner energy technologies, such as fuel cells and solar. More than a year later, she is still working there and hopes to be for years to come. Morey feels her professional and spiritual lives are connected by the big picture; compassion, the ideal of the bodhisattva, is her motivation for trying to make the planet a better place. as a teenager, Morey began attending youth retreats at the insight Meditation society in Barre, Massachusetts. her father was an alcoholic (currently recovering), so the dharma and the sangha were a much-needed relief from the turbulence at home. now, at age thirty, Morey wants to give back, so she has started leading teen retreats herself. she says, “if i can help teens see that there’s another way of being in the world—that there’s this pos- sibility for peace—that’s awesome.” recently, Morey’s practice has deepened. Despite participat- ing in many lengthy retreats, it used to be difficult for her to have a regular home practice. for the past two years, however, daily sitting has stopped being a struggle. it’s become natural, the thing she wants to do. another change has been how she views teachers. they helped Morey so much—and continue to help so much—that she thought they were perfect. she explains: “it’s been a growing up process to get closer to teachers and realize they’re human beings with shortcomings.” yet there is something “sweet” about the realization, too, “be- cause it means that i—also a human being with faults—might someday attain the levels of wisdom my teachers have attained.” as a twenty-one-year-old american kid, i felt i had a lot of living to do. i wanted to stay up late and go to bars. But always in the back of my mind i was thinking: i was a monk!” after the rainy season that Coffin spent in robes, he returned to the states and became a writer. his book, A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants, published by Da Capo press, chronicles his time at the temple. he says, “some of the criticism of my book sug- gested i wasn’t a very serious monk. this was disappointing to me. i tried to grapple with the very real problems of the mind and the human heart. We get hungry. We get bored. We crave simple conversation. to assume we should so easily lead our- selves away from such desire is to fantasize that we, as a species, are much grander and more complex than we really are. “Buddhist thought has led me to some helpful conclusions about who, for now, i really am. What i learned from the temple was that my mind, so bent on understanding the questions of existence and trying to find meaning in so many places, is best off in a state of unknowing and ambiguity. this is when i feel most free in the world.” photoByBrentM.hale