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Lions Roar : Nov 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2007 17 (“Sudden Awakening,” July 2007). I’ve long felt that Jesus’ use of parables serve a simi- lar purpose, and I was pleasantly surprised by Mr. Tarrant’s reference to the story of St. Paul’s transformation. I do feel duty bound, however, to offer a gentle correc- tion. The Feast of the Epiphany is not, in fact, a remembrance of Paul’s Damascus Road experience, but is connected to the visit of the three kings to the baby Jesus. The “epiphany” connected to this festival is that Jesus was recognized in this visit as having significance beyond the Jewish community. This certainly does not, however, detract from Mr. Tarrant’s main point regarding the sudden change Paul experienced. Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett Knoxville, Tennessee TO BE HONEST Cyndi Lee’s article, “Can I Be Honest with You?” (September 2007), says that you shouldn’t try to fix anything or indulge in recriminations, but then Lee goes on to say one must make a commitment to cut dis- honesty. She touches on the idea of kindness trumping honesty but, in the end, seems to fall on the side of always being honest. I am a twenty-three-year-old survivor of HIV who has lived with an AIDS diagnosis for four years. Based on my research and on my own experience of being relatively healthy most of that time, I maintain a con- trarian’s view on my affliction and I question mainstream assumptions about HIV and AIDS. Honesty is not such an easy thing for me. When I express my views or attempt to discuss my careful choices, I receive hostile reactivity, especially from my doctors. I’m relatively new at this Buddhism thing (three years) and have not run this by my meditation instructor, but I don’t feel I should have to endure hostility for expressing my opinion, especially when the reactive response is based on igno- rance. I don’t feel compelled to be honest with those who have not demonstrated compassion or kindness. I agree with Lee on one point—the main thing is that you are honest with yourself. Isn’t that what it’s all about? David G. Fink San Francisco, California NOW WHAT? Thank you for Ben Howard’s recent article on retirement (September 2007). It is the best piece I have seen on this tricky sub- ject. I recently retired after twenty-six years of teaching middle school and can only liken this experience to a death. The question arises—what do I re- ally want to do? The answer is sometimes nothing and sometimes it’s to create op- portunities to continue teaching my fa- vorite courses. William Tyler Allendale, New Jersey HOLDING PAIN I lay down after I read part of Susan Mc- Clelland’s article “Ishmael Beah’s Long Way Back” (September 2007) that recounts the story of Mariatu Kamara, a twelve- year-old girl whose hands were chopped off by teenaged soldiers because she couldn’t choose another punishment. I thought, where can I hold this? This be- ing the twelve-year-old girl, this being her mother, this being the child soldiers—all of whom are me in the terrifying mo- ment. I read Kamara’s story out of context and, finding it so extremely painful, I’ve not been able to go forward or backward to finish the article. Breathing in and breathing out, aware of my breath, I feel my body expand. It expands to keep everything precious—the child, the mother, the soldier, my one-year-old grand- son, the sadness, the connectedness. Kamara is still with me. I continue to hold her with my breath. Holding all this, I will soon be able to read the rest of the article. Lennis Lyon El Cerrito, California ♦ CORRECTION In the July issue’s letters, comments regarding an article by Alice Walker were mistakenly attributed to Ellen-Marie Silverman. We apologize for the error. THANKS We’d like to thank the following people for their assistance with this issue of the Shambhala Sun: Laura Chenoweth, Alison Crosby, James Kullander, Chris Liffen, Bill McKibben, Rachel Neumann, Glenna Olmstead, Chris Pichler, Karen Preuss, Theodore Roszak, Zuzanna Schnepf, Kazuumi Takahashi, Marzena Torzecka. NOV 1-17.indd 17 NOV 1-17.indd 17 8/29/07 2:39:56 PM 8/29/07 2:39:56 PM