Dharma Quote from Snow Lion Publications

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Dharma Quote of the Week

We all have a certain style for doing things–how we drive, how we cook, how we dress. Some of us are shy or cautious, others assertive or flamboyant. We’ve refined that style over the years based on how successful it is, but it’s not usually something of which we’re completely aware. As long as it gets the job done, as long as we get the appropriate feedback from others, our style goes unnoticed, and when questioned we’ll say, “That’s just the way I am.”

When we begin meditation, it is inevitable that we will meditate with the same style with which we do everything else, because it’s who we think we are. Furthermore, this style has proven to be reasonably successful in our other activities. However, in this case, it is not at all appropriate. If there is any style, there is a hidden agenda and an implicit judgment of the various phenomena of meditation. There is not the true detachment or choiceless awareness of real meditation. Our style contains our unacknowledged attitudes toward meditation.

…What’s the problem in meditating with an attitude? First, a large amount of energy goes into maintaining the attitude. To make this clearer, if we are trying to be aware of our breathing, 100 percent of our attention should be on our breathing. If we’re thinking, “I’m a shy person and I’m a little afraid of what’s going on here,” even if we’re not consciously aware of that thought, it will be taking our energy away from the breathing and keeping it tied up in the world of ego. Consequently, this energy is not available for our practice. And your evaluation of your practice and progress will be based on your agenda rather than on the Buddha’s teaching.

Of course, no one is a perfect meditator. It’s not like we have to wait until we have a perfect attitude before we begin. If that were the case, we would never start..With time, the purity of your attitude will grow…refining one’s approach is a lifetime’s work and is at the same time the practice itself.(p.72)

–from A Beginner’s Guide to Tibetan Buddhism by Bruce Newman, published by Snow Lion Publications

A Beginner’s Guide • Now at 5O% off!
(Good until December 9th).

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