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Lions Roar : May 2017
JUDY LIEF: I think most people would never be interested in such a thing as Buddhism if they were not questioning how to live this precious life, if they were not wondering what to do with the cir- cumstances and limited time each of us has. When I grew up, I was always questioning. Why I was in the family I was in. Why girls were supposed to do some things and boys were sup- posed to do others. I questioned why people were unfair, what life was, and what death was. Most of us believe there’s someone who has the answer to our questions, or that some path or book does. We hope we can find someone who knows the formula that will make our life go smoothly, and that we’ll be able to sail along once we find that magic spot. But at some point, after repeated disappointments, we drop the delusion that someone or something will give us the answers to life. We become more comfort- able riding the question than trying to find a solid answer. Your Question Is the Answer You’ve come to the spiritual path because you have deep questions about life. But you won’t find the kind of answers you hope for, explain Buddhist teachers JUDY LIEF and NORMAN FISCHER in this conversation with Lion’s Roar editor- in-chief MELVIN MCLEOD. You’ll find the real answers in the mind that’s asking the questions. PHOTOS BY ANDREA ROTH Deep questioning arises from nonconceptual space. It comes with the wisdom of seeing through the need to solidify your experience and make it graspable and containable within a smaller mind. That wisdom comes directly from the experience of meditation practice, which I think of as “rest- ing in question.” My teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche said it was like being in a kind of no man’s land, a space of positive uncertainty. NORMAN FISCHER: The contemplative branches of every religion dwell in the question- ing mind. They dig deeper than the words and the doctrines into some ineffable place. Most people think that place of questioning, that no man’s land, is unsettling and scary. But in reality, it’s wondrous. Even when it’s difficult or painful, there’s a feeling of appreciation and won- der. In this space, which is bigger than anything we can define or reduce to a doctrine, we appreci- ate the reality of being alive beyond our various LION’S ROAR | MAY 2017 67