Filed in Zen (Chan)

Rising to the Challenge: Filling the Well with Snow

Bonnie Myotai Treace teaches us to be open to a world in which the old standards no longer apply.

Bonnie Myotai Treace

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I’ve been asked if I think the world is getting worse. That, to me, isn’t the point. However the world is—whether there are swirling forces of confusion or immense waves of clarity around us—we’re still responsible. When we turn diligence into an intellectual process, we end up feeling exhausted by the intensity of the obligation. But if we just respond the way the eyelid responds to a dry eye, then the work of peace naturally arises out of our innate wisdom and compassion.

When we’re afraid, the mind tends to dart away instead of diligently and deeply entering the fear. It gets confused and thinks, “Let me take care of myself first,” as if it weren’t responsible for the whole world. Part of what zazen—sitting meditation—does is to help us settle down into gentle, unswerving attention and peel away that false sense of separation.

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