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Lions Roar : May 2015
hopes, that our religion can give it to us. But all our religions, all our explanations, all our moralities, are mixed and impure. To accept and embrace this is what brings an end to our suffering. The story continues: after Cuiwei says this, Touzi gets it. He is, as Zen stories alway say, “enlightened.” He bows and readies to leave. As he is going, Cuiwei says to him, “Don’t fall down!” Meaning, “In this sad world of birth and death, do your best to remain on your feet and do the right thing.” And also meaning, “Of course you won’t be able to do that. You’ll be constantly placed in moral dilemmas, you’ll make mistakes all the time. So when you fall down, get up as gracefully as possible.” To die the great death is to see and feel life as being/non-being itself, sadly and beautifully beyond good and evil. But death is useless; it can’t produce anything in this world. You have to come back to life, and, as Touzi says to Zhaozho in our original story, you can only do that in the daylight, not in death’s darkness. Yes, “life and death are one” is a deep and ineffable truth. Killing and being killed, one. All victims of violence would have died soon enough anyway. All of them were, like us, more or less already dead—impermanence, emptiness, means that we are all already dead, losing our lives (evanescent as smoke) moment by moment anyway. Our having an actual possessable life has always been a painful illusion. The change of state from life and death is slight, the curtain between them far thinner than any of us believe. From within the great death everything is acceptable; everything is all right all of the time. Things are just as they are, not some other way. But this, monstrous as it sounds, is so only when you are dead—only when you have entered the samadhi of the absolute, which is stasis. We can’t stay dead. We have to come back to life because this is our condition, privilege, and obligation. We enter the world of face-to-face encounter, of the difference between us. Oneness isn’t anything other than this. There is no difference between oneness and manyness. These are just ways of speaking. In the light of life there’s only me and you, Touzi, Zhaozho, and Cuiwei, and what we and they can do together to bring some goodness to our lives. Following precepts is very clear. There are no two ways about it: don’t kill, never kill, don’t support killing, try to prevent killing when and however you can. Support and promote life and do what you can to nurture it. And when kill- ing happens anyway, grieve with bitter tears the innocent death, because you are a human being, and it is very sad and terrible. A person who’s died the great death before reentering the light understands how all this happens, and knows that in some form or another it will always happen as long as we are human. Of course it can happen more or less drastically, and one needs to work daily and tirelessly to make it better. But there will never be an end to this work of making things better, because it is our human birthright to make things worse and to make them better. The Problem of Evil continued from page 57 ➢ page 87 Traleg Khandro US Tour May – August 2015 • NYC & Upstate NY • Illinois • Massachusetts • West Virginia Evening and weekend talks and a 5 day retreat Topics to be presented include: The Psychology of Meditation and Body, Breath Mind Integration Traleg Khandro is the head of E-Vam Buddhist Institute NYC and Nyima Centre, Sydney Australia for the late Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche IX. Courses include philosophical discussions and guided visualization, meditation and pranayama exercises from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Tour details can be found at www.evam.org Enquiries: E-Vam Institute 38-28 32nd Street, Long Island City E firstname.lastname@example.org Ph (718) 472 2980 SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2015 81