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Lions Roar : September 2019
Take a Step Find a koan for yourself. You can use the one about stepping in the dark, or if that holds no appeal, find another. Perhaps you’ve already found a koan, or one is eyeing you from across the room. You can meditate with the koan or take it for a walk. You can repeat the words to yourself, or not. Even one word is enough. What you remember consciously may not be up to you. Trusting the way you natu- rally work with the koan is the beginning of making a relationship with it. The koan, “Step by step in the dark...” points to the way you have the capac- ity to find a moment of ease, a dry place to put your foot. Notice when that ease comes, maybe that’s the stone. This koan also provides you with places to step in the form of potent words and images. Actually walk in the dark and notice how it is for you. Find out what kind of stone is your stone, and how it is for you to step there. Notice when you’re at peace. Be in the Dark We like to know things. It makes us feel safer, not vulnerable to criticism from our- selves or others. Koans don’t work like that. They reward the vulnerability of not know- ing. Let go of the ways you usually use your mind—the plans and the judgments. If you like, you can even let go of the koan. Once you’ve heard it, you can’t lose it. It will stay with you, anchored below your attention. You don’t need to explain it to yourself or figure it out. Allow yourself to go to the edge of what you know and look beyond. This curiously delicious darkness stretches out in all directions. Transformation comes from this place. Get Wet Take the koan into your life. Take it to the store, on long commutes, to work, to the woods, to the circus, on holidays with your parents or children. Allow it into your heart when you’re late for an appointment or in the midst of a hard conversation, and when you’re sad or bored or disappointed in fame or fortune. Remember the koan again and notice what happens. Really look. What you saw before won’t be what you see now. You may see the light in people’s faces that you’d previously missed. Something annoying may turn out to be funny instead. Find a Stone When you lose your practice, when suffer- ing appears again, impenetrable and lit- eral, you can always start again. Find your koan, shake it a bit, and ask, what now? You can practice with a koan anytime, in any condition. You can take it into sitting meditation, where it will quietly subvert your mind’s standard ploys. And you can also take it where you don’t think it can go. It’s there whenever you need insight or a hand to hold in the dark. There won’t be an answer, not directly, but the world will be visible in a dif- ferent way. Perhaps it will bring tears to your eyes, or make you laugh out loud. ♦ What Buddhist Economics really looks like NOW AVAILABLE FROM YOUR FAVORITE BOOKSELLER Rod Burylo CIM, FCSI, is one of Canada’s leading experts in ethics and compliance in the financial sector. He is also a former Director and past-President of the Calgary Buddhist Temple. Rod Burylo’s new book shows how generosity and right action can be cultivated within the context of Western society and its fascination with money. Far from being in con- flict, Burylo reveals how Buddhist ethics support and are critical to skill- ful engagement with finances, while fostering kindness, compassion, and supportive connections with others. Ted Meissner The Secular Buddhist Podcast I deeply appreciated the clear and pragmatic financial advice through- out the book. The Buddhist founda- tions are strong and the motivation to create a better world is evident in each and every chapter. Justin Whitaker BuddhistEthics Blog The Sumeru Press Inc. Canada’s leading independent Buddhist book publisher Visit us at sumeru-books.com BuddhistEthics Blog LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2019 22 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE