QUESTION: I want to talk about anger a little bit more. I've been bargaining with this practice for years, and now I find that I'm angry with it. My back hurts, my knees hurt, if I bow one more time I'm going to need a chiropractor. I don't like your suit.
VR: Now we're in trouble. [Laughter]
Q: According to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, I've been through bargaining, and I've been through anger, and I've got two more stages to go and I'll be dead. That's depressing.
VR: Who is that?
Q: Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, on death and dying.
VR: Is she dead?
Q: No. She's on the way, but she's not there yet.
VR: Oh, so are we all. Anyway, yes, I understand, it hurts everywhere.
Q: Yes, and my question may seem frivolous or flip, but actually it's quite serious: do you have to be dead to be a good Buddhist?
VR: Yes. In a very particular way—you have to be dead to your own biography.
Q: Well, I'm looking at that four hours of meditation tomorrow, and it looks like the Sahara Desert to me.
VR: Well, don't start writing it yet; you didn't even get there. That's what we mean by generosity: we are so stingy, we didn't even get there, and the tombstone is being carved, "Here lies So and So, who almost went to meditation practice tomorrow." Listen: the pain in the back and the bowing and the self consciousness that you feel could be included in the practice as an act of generosity to yourself. It's possible to do that. Does that make any sense?
Q: Well, it all makes sense actually. Thank you.

Copyright 2011 © Lila Rich. All rights reserved.