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Lions Roar : January 2003
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2003 89 very fundamental things, baby steps to being fully human. But Nyoshul Khen, up until his death in 2000, kept turning Salzberg’s attention to something she was overlooking—not his buddhanature, but hers. “I had a different experience with him,” Salzberg says, “because I was a much more mature being at that point. I’d always been very devoted to my teachers. But with them the ground of my own self-respect was not that strong yet.” In the last few months of Nyoshul Khen’s life, Salzberg kept looking to him as the person with the answers, with the strength, with the great love and wisdom. And he kept pointing her to herself for those things. “It turns out,” she says, “we look at the Buddha to see our- selves. And we look at ourselves, not to see ourselves as separate and more wonderful than anybody else.” She laughs. “But we look at ourselves and basically see everybody.” Finally, after over thirty years of intense practice, of traveling all over the world and studying with what she calls an “ever-chang- ing pantheon of teachers,” Salzberg allowed her teacher to show her what she’d vowed to learn under the Bodhi tree: faith in herself, and in her ability to love. “From the point of view of the Buddhist teaching,” she says, “we all have that capacity to love. No experience of suffering, of loneliness or of unlovability we may have gone through or may yet go through can ever destroy that capacity. And that faith is the bedrock of lov- ing-kindness. It’s faith in one’s buddhanature, in one’s awareness and the potential to love. It’s faith in an interconnected universe.” Salzberg, at fifty, doesn’t think, at all, that this is the end of her path. “I have definitely remade my life,” she says. “I’ve re-parented myself with my teach- ers, and I’ve found a home in the dharma, and have an amazing community of friends. I have practiced. But like any person, I’m not completely free. I do have faith, though, that any of us can be.”♦ TRISH DEITCH ROHRER isexecutive editor of the Shambhala Sun. Sharon Salzberg continued from page 47