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Lions Roar : November 2019
Buddhism also teaches that the path to liberation is through freeing the mind. As Ajahn Chah writes in Nibbana is Giving Up, Letting Go, and Being Free on lionsroar.com: “Nibbana means not grasping. Nibbana means not giving meaning to things. Nibbana means let- ting go.” How do you free your mind? Here, we encounter a seeming paradox. As the Zen master Dogen Zenji famously taught, we dissolve our sense of self through self- examination. In To Know Yourself is To Forget Yourself, a commentary on Dogen’s teaching, Pema Chödrön explains, “We might think that knowing our- selves is a very ego-centered thing, but by beginning to look so clearly and so honestly at ourselves—at our emotions, at our thoughts, at who we really are—we begin to dissolve the walls that separate us from others.” To me, Pema is pointing to the next step on the path. As we empty the mind of ego, we discover a more integral, foundational sense of self. A self that touches everyone. Of course, our greatest challenge on the path is ourselves. It’s often said that no one truly wants to attain enlightenment; it’s just too daunting. As Guo Gu explains, all of our experience is just an illusion gener- ated by the firing of synapses in our brain. He writes, “This understanding challenges the distinctions we tend to make between inside and outside... Yet we don’t tend to live as though that were true.” Why do we choose to ignore this real- ity? I think Cypher, The Matrix’s villain- ous traitor, sums it up nicely over dinner. “You know, I know this steak doesn’t exist,” he says. “I know when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, do you know what I’ve realized?” He takes a bite and groans. “Ignorance is bliss.” Often, that’s true; ignorance is bliss. And yet, despite that, as wayfarers on the eightfold path, we’re compelled to seek the truth. And so, we find ourselves on the same quest as Neo: to find out just how deep the rabbit hole goes. ♦ One woman’s journey from trauma to resilience through Dharma NOW AVAILABLE FROM YOUR FAVORITE BOOKSELLER “Her story is far-reaching, but a cen- tral thread is how Buddhist practice helped Suh overcome her body- image issues and disordered eating.” – Buddhadharma Quarterly. Sharon A. Suh is a Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Seattle U. A popular speaker on the topic of feminism and Buddhism, she has also devel- oped and pre- sented work- shops on mindful movement, medita- tion, body image, body acceptance, and mindful eating. Read an excerpt at www.lionsroar.com/eat-eat/ The Sumeru Press Inc. Canada’s leading independent Buddhist book publisher Visit us at sumeru-books.com image issues and disordered Buddhadharma Sharon A. Suh is a Professor of Theology and Religious Studies shops on mindful movement, medita- tion, body image, body acceptance, and mindful eating. KNOWLEDGE IS EARNED BY THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO SEEK IT uwest.edu Master of Divinity Buddhist Chaplaincy Master of Arts Religious Studies Doctor of Buddhist Ministry Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Religious Studies As a small, non-profit, private university, UWest’s graduate programs provide advanced level of knowledge and skills to help you on your path. Application waiver code: LionsROAR (855) 468-9378 Financial Assistance Available WASC Accreditation Institute for the Study of Humanistic Buddhism LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2019 26