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Lions Roar : November 2019
BEGINNER’S MIND I’m Buddhist. My partner isn’t. Can it work? Of course! It’s lovely to be able to share your Buddhist practice—or anything else important—with your partner, but if you can’t, should it really matter? Healthy couples don’t have to be just like each other. (And if you think about it, it’s probably better when they aren’t.) Does your partner give you the men- tal and physical space needed to work on your practice? Do you, likewise, sup- port what’s important to them? If so, you’re fortunate, and no doubt better off than a lot of couples. Sure, it would be nice to make the car-ride to your next retreat together, but reuniting after a long weekend of meditative intro- spection will be pretty sweet, too. It all boils down to mutual respect: if you and your partner are truly accepting of each other’s practice and beliefs, even when they’re not shared, you should have no problem here. Why is doing a retreat helpful? Along with daily practice, Buddhism recommends taking time off for a longer and deeper experience of meditation. Of course, every meditation session is DHARMA FAQS We answer your questions about Buddhism & meditation. BUDDHISM BY THE NUMBERS BUDDHISM IS USUALLY thought of as a path of practice. But it is equally a path of training (which is in fact one of the synonyms for practice). We train our minds, but it goes deeper than that. We train our whole being. We train in the very way we live. Buddhist training falls into three categories. In Sanskrit, they are called sila (discipline or ethical living), sama- dhi (concentration), and prajna (insight or wisdom). Together, they summarize the Buddha’s fourth noble truth, the path to enlightenment. Sila: Variously translated as discipline, ethics, virtue, or morality, sila encompasses three aspects of the eight- fold path: right speech, right action, and right liveli- hood. Living ethically and purely is both the ground of the Buddhist path and its result. Samadhi: Translated as concentration, calm abiding, or mindfulness, samadhi is the foundation of Buddhist meditation. By settling and calming the mind through dedicated meditation practice, we achieve peace and are no longer controlled by our delusions and conflict- ing emotions (kleshas). Prajna: Translated as wisdom, insight, and discrimi- nating mind, prajna is Buddhism’s unique, defining principle and the key to enlightenment. Using the powerful, concentrated mind of samadhi, we penetrate the true nature of reality and free ourselves from the fundamental ignorance that causes suffering. This is the essential technique of Buddhist meditation. PAULHAMMONDILLUSTRATIONSBYNOLANPELLETIER LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2019 30