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Lions Roar : March 2016
Anam Thubten: Practice Bodhichitta There is a timeless truth in the Buddhist tradition, one that goes beyond being a Buddhist to the very depth of human experience. It is about awakening to the great emptiness and all-pervasive sacredness of existence. It is about finding true joy by freeing ourselves from the internal world of concepts and beliefs that veils the indescribably beautiful nature of our lives. I believe the future of humanity lies in this radical awakening of consciousness. I almost think there is no choice except to wake up. The world is in an unprecedented phase in which change that used to take centuries is happening in a very short period of time. It is time for us to see that humanity and our natural world are intrinsically sacred so we can respect and love each other and save this kind and unbelievably magical Mother Nature. I feel this awakening is about to happen, and that Buddhism in the West, which is less dogmatic and institutionalized than in Asia, can make a vital contribution. Buddhism has to fulfill the needs of our contemporary society so it can be a rich, living spiri- tuality instead of just another conventional religious tradition. I personally feel that as Buddhists we should focus more on bodhichitta, awakened heart–mind. Bodhichitta is universal and profound because it encompasses the true inner awakening of love, compassion, and awareness. When bodhichitta is the essen- tial practice, then all the other Buddhist teachings and methods can be a truly effective force to bring about inner transformation. It’s good to remind ourselves not to miss this point. All the beautiful doctrines and methodologies available in various Buddhist traditions are useful in themselves, but they can become just another compulsion when we forget to bring in the heart. ANAM THUBTEN RINPOCHE is founder of the Dharmata Foun- dation, and author of No Self, No Problem and The Magic of Awareness. Reverend angel Kyodo williams: The Great Awakening Beckons Never before have the teachings of the Buddha found them- selves in a society as diverse as ours. As Buddhist practitioners, we are of different genders, orientations, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, classes, castes, and creeds. We are even of different religions, and of course, so-called races. Add to this the very real threat to our collective habitat that human activity has generated and we can see that the buddha- dharma, like other teachings that offer guidance on how we “be” as a species, is at a crossroads. People and planet need the Great Awakening the dharma beckons us toward. As Buddhists, we can see both the unique challenge and extraordinary opportunity life in the twenty-first century pres- ents us with. While the dharma takes many forms, many Western Buddhists have felt called toward meditation practice. We want to learn what to do to understand how to be. Hence, meditation and mindfulness have formed a central com- ponent of our Buddhist curriculum. To that, we’ve added a healthy dose of psychology that appeals to our discursive mind. Study of the individual ego, its machinations and wily permutations, is well understood to be a core aspect of our practice–study approach. Indeed, the lens through which we view and interpret the LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2016 41