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Aug 03
Dharma Teachings
Being Buddha

Sideways photo courtesy of Joey Johannsen

Sideways photo courtesy of Joey Johannsen

From the weekly column Dharma Snacks by Cynthia Kneen

I think a lot about society. This could be because society is the issue for Shambhala and Mahayana Buddhism, and I am part of this. But somehow it’s a deeper issue, too. Look at how troubled human society is. Groups tie tin cans around the necks of those who don’t fit in, and scapegoat them. They drive them from the village and kill them, or want to, anyway. There are cultural bullies everywhere in polite society, picking up tin cans, righteous about this or that. Still, the good news is that society is made up of individuals, and individuals are made of basic goodness. Buddhist tantra is for individuals to realize their individuality. All the Buddha’s methods are designed for this result. That’s a very rugged thing to do. Tantra means continuity in Sanskrit, and Buddha means awake. And it is more comfortable to be Buddhist than be a Buddha. Still, the last thing Trungpa Rinpoche said to the Bay Area sangha before he died was, “If you remember nothing that I’ve said, remember this. Don’t be afraid of who you are.” Mind always changes, so the Buddha said, rest with what doesn’t change. Our teachers want you and me to our true selves. The Buddha didn’t say, “Sit down under a tree, like me, and don’t get up.” He got up and said, “How you do what you do is the golden key.”

I am immensely inspired by our teachers, their texts, ourselves, the main shrine, being one of hundreds of individuals practicing being Buddhas, and partying about it, too! All this inspires me. Although we have different practices and live in different countries, we are a tantric community. This becomes obvious when we are together practicing. I feel respectful and inspired to be practicing to be a Buddha on the Earth.


Cynthia Kneen is the author of Awake Mind, Open Heart: The Power of Courage & Dignity in Everyday Life (Avalon, 2002), and the CD course, Shambhala Warrior Training (Sounds True, 1996). Cynthia has taught Shambhala Buddhist programs throughout the mandala for over thirty years and is currently writing a book on business and dharma. Visit her website at www.cynthiakneen.com

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