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Lions Roar : March 2019
always recognize it, this buddhanature is always with us. Every single day we do countless things that express this buddhanature—small acts of compassion, moments of insight and understanding. These things are so com- mon that we don’t even notice them. Recognizing these qualities is like dis- covering a treasure that’s been buried right beneath our feet. What we discover might feel new and fresh, but it’s our discovery that is new, not the qualities themselves. This discovery of our own buddhana- ture is the solution to the problems we face. Appreciation isn’t positive thinking. It’s not wishing things to be better than they really are. Appreciation is taking the time to notice what’s already here, what we have right now in this very moment. This capacity gives us the inner strength to work with our suffering in a skillful way, and to stay connected to each other as we do. There are so many qualities that we don’t give ourselves credit for. As the Bud- dha discovered, our minds are naturally clear and aware. Our hearts are naturally open and compassionate. Each of us has tremendous wisdom. Although we don’t CELEBRATING YEARS It gives us the confidence, the compassion, and the wisdom to deal with our own chal- lenges and the suffering of the world with an open heart and a clear mind. When we make appreciation the foun- dation of our practice, every moment is filled with possibility. WHAT MADE THE NEWS YESTERDAY and today, what trended twenty minutes ago, tells of disarray and despair and destruction—of suffering and mindlessness heaped upon each other. That is part of the story of our time. But it is not the whole story of our time. There is also the genera- tive possibility of our time—of compassion and healing and collective awakening. This too is happening all around us, but my fel- low journalists do not shine the bright light on it. Those of us who see it must partici- pate in and nourish it. In the last few centuries, we began to consign spiritual life to a compartment labeled “private.” We placed more and more of our collective faith in the large, loud, external pursuits of politics and economics. One appeal of these disci- plines—to which we attached descriptors like “serious” and “hard”—was their cer- tainty that irrational human tendencies could be controlled by rational forms. Now, on the shaky ground of this early century, politics and economics have become the thinnest of veneers over the inner human drama of dreams and desires, pain, and fear. It is becoming ever clearer that the complex reality of human nature is the hardest and most serious business of all. So many advances we believed in are fragile because, amid all the outer changes, we did not change ourselves. I am suffering, so is everyone else, and we have to work directly with that. The Buddha saw, named, and investigated this underlying truth of life. Across the millen- nia, human beings have chosen to grapple with the revelations this truth presents— or to turn away. In our time, brilliant young technologies act like extensions of our brains and bodies and give us, among other things, new and shiny means to turn away. Yet these same technologies have connected our minds and lives, and so made my suffering and yours, and the well-being of all life and the planet that nourishes it, utterly inextricable. I sense that behind the question that has been posed here—what mes- sage Buddhism can offer in coming decades—is a noble desire to do “more.” I believe that “more” will flow naturally if the magnificent traditions of Buddhism, with which I converse as a delighted guest, student, and companion—are shared more boldly and expansively, in their full complexity and depth. The spiritual technologies of meditation and mindfulness are just when we need them most. But they’ve been imparted in many ways that arrived detached from their own deep roots. The world is ready to benefit from the wisdom in that rich soil. The insights of Buddhist psychology have been a window into this for me. I have come to treasure it as a tremendous gift for seeing and diagnosing what ails us. Buddhist psychology offers seeds and tools for the fresh start our species needs to wake up and grow up. Sitting with, PHOTOBYPETERBECK Tools to Wake Up and Grow Up by Krista Tippett YONGEY MINGYUR RINPOCHE is a teacher of Vajrayana Buddhism, founder of the Tergar Meditation Community, and author of the bestseller The Joy of Living. In 2011, he left his monastery and embarked on an anonymous four-year “wandering retreat” through the Himalayas and streets of northern India. LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2019 75