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Lions Roar : July 2018
BODHIDHARMASEATEDINMEDITATION,JAPAN,CA.1885.FREERGALLERYOFARTANDARTHURM.SACKLERGALLERY,SMITHSONIANINSTITUTION,WASHINGTON,D.C.:GIFTOFCHARLESLANGFREER,F1902.228 our compassionate side, so that we relate to our fellow beings by recognizing our shared sentient nature. In this way, we gradually move away from the prison of exces- sive self-focus and gain greater freedom. Transforming our way of being in the world involves taking ethics seriously so that all our conduct is shaped by our newly transformed outlook and commitment to compassion. Clearly, meditation practice, even as understood tra- ditionally, does involve stilling our mind. But this is only the first step. The greater effect of meditation practice arises when we apply our more settled mind to cultivating insight and compassion. Then we enjoy both the immedi- ate benefit of greater peace and the longer-term benefit of profound and enduring spiritual transformation. THUPTEN JINPA is a Buddhist scholar, translator for the Dalai Lama, chair of the Mind & Life Institute, and author of A Fearless Heart. You’ve Had Enlightenment Experiences You just have to notice them, says Melissa Myozen Blacker. That’s where meditation comes in. AT THE END of the fortieth koan in the Blue Cliff Record, a government official comes to visit the famous Zen master Nanchuan, who shows him a beautiful peony blooming in the garden. Nanchuan says to him, “People these days see this flower as though they were in a dream.” We are all caught in the great dream-state of consen- sual reality. Most human beings agree that we are sepa- rate beings, encased in bags of skin, and that everything we encounter in the world of form can be understood through its named identity. We call a tree a “tree,” and all of its specificity and complexity is boiled down to that one word. Clinging to the trance of this mutually agreed reality interferes with our direct perception of everything’s uniqueness, and how each thing is not just itself, but also the manifestation of the awakened nature that fills and animates the universe. Nanchuan’s peony is both a unique flower in the garden, and also everything. But because of our addiction to a limited identity, we see the things of the world as if we were dreaming, or, as the Bible says, “through a glass darkly.” In Zen practice, we talk about enlightenment, awak- ening, or realization. The popular understanding of these terms is that the experience they name is some