This week I was reflecting on how we consistently misunderstand vulnerability and miss its promise. When we see it as weakness or brokenness, our energies move toward management, reactivity, or even shame. However, vulnerability  actually points to the very heart of interdependence and impermanence. The experience of vulnerability in a human body is the reality of dukkha. So vulnerability is another way of speaking about the Buddha’s Three Marks of Existence.  We are vulnerable because we arise together with all beings. We shape each other and are shaped through our relationships with everything. And, when we can drop our clinging to the illusion of a stable, individual self, we find we no longer have anything at stake. Nothing to defend. We have the opportunity to enter the flow of existence with nothing to gain and nothing to lose. Here are my brief reflections and the intimate Inquiry that ensued.

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Appamada is not just the occasional mindful thought or attentive state of mind, it’s actually a commitment to being attentive. It’s more than just a meditative state of mind, it’s more than just being mindful. It has to do with that primary ethical or moral orientation we have in life, with which we bring into being whatever activity we’re engaged in. Whether in formal meditation, in our interactions with other people, in our social concerns, or in our political choices, it’s the energetic cherishing of what we regard as good.

—Stephen Batchelor


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