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Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly Summer 2021

Buddhadharma offers in-depth teachings that reflect the wealth and range of Buddhist traditions, expert book reviews, and first-rate reporting on stories of special interest to Buddhists. It’s a precious resource for readers who want to deepen their understanding of Buddhist practice and philosophy.

Shambhala Sun Foundation
2 Issues

in this issue

2 min

KAIRA JEWEL LINGO teaches Buddhist meditation, secular mindfulness, and compassion internationally. She spent fifteen years as a nun in Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastic community and is now a lay dharma teacher in both the Zen and Vipassana traditions, with a focus on racial, climate, and social justice. Her book, We Were Made for These Times: Skillfully Moving through Change, Loss, and Disruption (Parallax), is scheduled for release in October. JOY BRENNAN is a Soto Zen priest with the Mount Vernon Zen Sangha in Mount Vernon, Ohio, as well as a professor of Buddhism and East Asian religions at Kenyon College. Her academic work focuses on Buddhist conceptions of identity construction, such as those found in early Yogacara teachings, and the ways in which human beings construct their own worlds of experience. KEN…

4 min
it’s all pure dharma

WHEN I ARRIVED at Buddhadharma eight years ago, I was stepping between two worlds. For twelve years, I had been living in Japan, where I trained as a Soto Zen monk. Not all those years were in the monastery, but I was rarely far from it. So when I first sat down at my desk as deputy editor, I was steeped in a very particular dharma, one that smelled like incense and had the black sheen of wood floors that had been polished every day for centuries. It felt like my hands pressed together in gassho, like my forehead on the ground as I bowed, like robes wrapped around me. Before leaving Japan, I visited a well-known older monk, a teacher to one of my teachers, and told him I was going…

7 min
ask the teachers

SOSAN THERESA FLYNN: In order for this teaching not to produce anxiety, we need to let go of our usual way of thinking. If I think of myself as a separate individual, the responsibility for all of my thoughts, words, and deeds becomes overwhelming. When I remember that I am not separate from all beings, then I can feel how the whole universe is actually supporting me, supporting my every thought, word, and deed. However, usually we think we are separate, in control of our own destiny, and able to do things under our own power. Even if we say, “Oh, I know everything is interconnected and I am only a part of that,” it is still pretty hard to let go of that “I.” In Yui Butsu Yo Butsu…

11 min
your whole body is hands and eyes

A DEEP CURRENT OF PAIN moves through our world, ancient but immediate. It is the weight of unwholesome karma. It is the ignorance of our true embrace. In Japanese, Avalokiteshvara is called Kanzeon, the perceiver of the sounds of the world. The sound of the world, that rush and roar that has filled our ears from beginningless time, is the sound of suffering, of a current of pain that flows without cease. The bodhisattva joins this current through vow, through this heart that does not long to leave the world of pain, but chooses instead to flow with it, to perceive, to respond. We feel this current reflected throughout our lives as an unwillingness—an unwillingness to face each other, and also to face ourselves. Another person takes their own life, literally and…

17 min
deconstructing whiteness

THE BUDDHIST TRADITION has long posited that important features of one’s collective identity are based on karmic inheritance. Some collective, karmically shaped identities are social, like one’s sexual identity as male, female, or another category. Others are cosmological, such as being born human rather than animal, god, hell being, or hungry ghost. These cosmological identities are sometimes also understood as psychological in nature, or as referencing both a life in a given cosmic realm and the presence of certain psychological traits or characteristics. So we find, for example, that hell beings are dominated by hate, while hungry ghosts are dominated by greed. These examples clearly illuminate the tradition’s commitment to identifying shared experiential conditions based on shared kinds of bodies, worlds of experience, and psychological traits, and linking these shared conditions…

13 min
how equanimity powers love

THERE IS A POWER that can help us meet the intense challenges of all that we face—Covid-19, climate chaos, racism, economic and political breakdown. That power is equanimity, one of the faces of love. In his book Compassion and Emptiness in Early Buddhist Meditation, Bhikkhu Analayo distinguishes the four Brahmaviharas, or immeasurable minds—the four qualities of true love— using images of the sun. Metta, or loving friendliness, he says, is like the sun at noon, bright and strong, shining on everyone. For karuna, compassion, the image is of the sun setting, meeting the darkness of suffering with tenderness and care. Mudita, appreciative joy, carries the image of the sunrise, brightening up everything in its path, moving upward with freshness and inspiration. And the image for upekkha, equanimity, is of the full…