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Lions Roar : November 2018
see no hierarchy between emptiness and form at all, no separation. I revere the beauty of form, especially the forms my father taught me to love. The pleasure of listening to an incredible drum solo, or watching dancers’ feet strike hardwood floors, or the joy of a water ski cutting through a mirrored lake, or feeling the sun on my face—these come from my Dad. They aren’t somehow secondary to spiritual realization. In fact, they’re inseparable from it. The Mirror of Essential Points goes on to say: Look at whatever appears In any of the ten directions. No matter how it manifests, The thing in itself, its very nature, Is the sky-like nature of the mind Beyond the projection and the dissolution of thought and concept. Everything has the nature of being empty. When the empty looks at the empty, Who is there to look at something empty? As it is illusion looking at illusion And delusion watching delusion, What is the use of many classifications Such as “empty” and “not empty?” In my hierarchy-seeking mind, this teaching elevates my Dad and all his loves (squash, watersports, women) to the same plane as my yoga and meditation teachers and sacred texts. Suddenly, the saying “It’s all one” feels undeniably real. Dad reaches his right hand out again, and this time it’s very warm. While still asleep, he grasps my right hand, arm- wrestler style, with the kata trapped between our fingers. The two truths—the relative truth of phenomena and the absolute of emptiness—are symbolized by his South African body of ephemeral memories and experiences, and by the sacred, fraying Tibetan scarf and the lin- eage it hails from. In our collective grip, the two truths are one. ♦ mupress.org 866-895-1472 toll-free A unique study of the earliest recorded “discourses” of the Buddha, the author takes an approach that is at once psychological, philosophical, and literary. Readers will come away from this book with a deepened understanding of their own lives, an intimacy with the Buddha’s penetrating mind, and a desire for further study of these wonderful texts and, above all, of themselves. Krishnan Venkatesh has taught Eastern and Western philosophy for three decades at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Born in Malaysia to a Hakka Chinese mother and Brahmin Indian father, he was raised and educated in England, and worked at universities in Germany and China. 9780881466799 $18, paperback Do You Know Who You Are? Reading the Buddha’s Discourses by Krishnan Venkatesh LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2018 18