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Lions Roar : September 2016
SOMETIMES IN TEACHING MEDITATION we say, “Sit like a mountain. Sit with a sense of strength and dignity. Be steadfast, be majestic, be natural and at ease in awareness. No matter how many winds are blowing, no matter how many clouds are swirl- ing, no matter how many lions are prowling, be intimate with everything and sit like a mountain.” This is an image of equanimity. We feel everything, with- out exception, and we relate to it through our own strength of awareness, not through habitual reactions. Practice sitting like a mountain sometime, allowing all images and feelings and sen- sations to come and go, as you reside in steadfastness, watching it all arise and pass away. This passage is one of my favorites from the Buddha’s teaching: WECANDOIT Abandon what is unskillful, One can abandon the unskillful, If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do so. If this abandoning of the unskillful would bring harm and suffering, I would not ask you to abandon it. But as the abandoning of the unskillful brings benefit and happiness, Therefore, I say, “Abandon what is unskillful.” Cultivate the good, You can cultivate the good. If it were not possible, I would not ask you to do it. If this cultivation of the good would bring harm and suffering, I would not ask you to cultivate it. But as the cultivation of the good brings benefit and happiness, Therefore, I say, “Cultivate the good!” I think this beautifully exemplifies the extraordinary compassion of the Buddha. The mind of the Buddha sees not good and bad people, but suffering and the end of suffering, and exhorts those heading toward suffering through greed or anger or fear to take care, to pay atten- tion, to see how much more they are capable of, rather than condemning them. He sees those heading toward the end of suffering through wisdom and loving-kindness and rejoices for them. It is a passage that inspires our sincere efforts. In the end, these ideas of how to live a better life aren’t some- thing to admire from afar or hold in an abstract way. We need to experiment with them, breathe life into them, see how they affect our minds and hearts, and see where they take us. Turning our lives in the direction of kindness can be done. It can only bring benefit and happiness. I can do it. You can do it. Otherwise, the Buddha would not have asked ustodoso.♦ SHARON SALZBERG is one of the founders of the Insight Medita- tion Society in Barre, Massachusetts. This article is adapted from her book The Kindness Handbook, with permission of Sounds True. Cultivate the Good The historical Buddha taught mindfulness as a method to reduce harm and increase benefit. Best of all, says SHARON SALZBERG, he said we can all do it. PHOTOBYMAERYAN