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Lions Roar : Nov 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2007 15 Letters to the Editor THE SOUND OF ONE HAND I thoroughly enjoyed Natalie Gold- berg’s “Meeting the Chinese in St. Paul” in the September 2007 issue. The article begins, however, with a mistaken translation of a very famously misquoted koan, the “Sound of One Hand.” The way Master Hakuin originally asked the question is, “In clapping both hands, a sound is heard. What is the sound of one hand?” The word “clapping” does not appear in the original question, and the addition of that word changes the nature of the question. I believe this koan is constantly repeated with the addition of “clapping” because, with- out it, the question is a difficult one for the logical mind to penetrate. As a result, many people have the wrong impression of the answer to this koan. Al Rapaport Melbourne, Florida YIA YIA MIND Like Susan Moon (“Grandmother Mind,” September 2007), I too was well loved by both my grandmothers. From my maternal grandmother I learned a sense of self-worth and a spirit of adventure. But it was my yia yia, my dad’s mother, with whom I shared an espe- cially close bond. Her love and positive influence in my life are still very much present more than twenty years after her death. Four years ago when my partner and I adopted, we introduced a new name for my mom: yia yia. We didn’t ask her if she was comfortable with the name so closely associated with her Greek mother-in-law; we just gave it to her. On a recent visit from my parents, we learned that our son’s baby brother would finally be moved into our home. That first night in a new place with new people was rough for the seven-month-old. No matter what my partner and I did, the baby would not sleep. Finally, my mom came out of the guest bedroom and took him from us. In a matter of minutes, he was sleeping. He spent his first night in our home sleeping on her chest in an armchair. In the morning, we asked what she had done to finally make him sleep. She simply smiled and said, “He just needed his yia yia.” Don’t we all! Christopher Katis Los Angeles, California MINDFUL MEDICINE I completely support the idea of doctors becoming more mindful of themselves and their patients (review of How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman, September 2007). Everyone needs mindfulness to perform well. It’s difficult for doctors to attain mindfulness, however, when the majority of them must deal with large workloads and are expected to have an enormous amount of technical knowledge. As a hospital chaplain, I have attended weekly staff meetings with nurses and social workers to review patients’ progress. Unfortunately, doctors do not at- tend. They have their hands full with medical pro- cedures and do not have time to consider the social, emotional, or spiritual issues of patients. If doctors do have extra time, they go to grand rounds to hear about the latest advances in medical knowledge. One team in our hospital does include doctors—the palliative care team. An integrated view is necessary for these patients and their families who are facing death or long-term illness. Such teams exist in many hospitals and can be a model for other kinds of medical care. If we are to address doctor burnout, we must in- clude more tools for doctors, as well as a supportive community that will provide more shoulders to share the load. Robert Rothemich San Francisco, California THE RIGHT EPIPHANY As an Episcopal priest who enjoys reading your maga- zine very much, I appreciated John Tarrant’s article on Zen koans and “aha” moments of transformation NOV 1-17.indd 15 NOV 1-17.indd 15 8/30/07 3:15:36 PM 8/30/07 3:15:36 PM