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Hardcore Dharma Week 11: In Conclusion

It’s the end of an era. After ten weeks of sweet multi-platform hardcore Buddhism learning action, the spring beginner Hardcore Dharma class has come to an end. Last week I wrote about the first meditator and this week I’m going to wax nostalgic about the course in general. 

In our last class we discussed Thich Nhat Hahn’s teaching on Three Doors of Liberation, emptiness, signlessness, and aimlessness. 

After we finished our discussion, people mingled in the afterglow of ideas and fellowship and the niggling disappointment of something good coming to an end. Someone asked me, “didn’t this class just change your life?” I hesitated, unsure. “Well, it changed mine!” she said, smiling.  

And it did, in small ways. There’s something in committing to a set period of study and actually, you know, doing it week after week. Instead of the scattershot show-up-when-conditions-are-optimal regime I’d been practicing, Hardcore Dharma forced me handle ideas and community weekly. It also helps that the name Hardcore Dharma is both excellent and sweet; it gives you something to live up to. 
How did it change me? I’m more likely to remember a teaching or weekly contemplation in the course of my daily routine, or sit when I don’t feel like it because I took the 7 Day Meditation Vow (though I never actually managed to do 7 days in a week – anyone else?). Then there were a few lightening rod moments that I think about every day. I connected with Thich Nhat Hahn’s teaching in The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching called “Stopping, Calming, Resting, Healing.”

“We need the energy of mindfulness to recognize and be present with our habit energy in order to stop this course of destruction. With mindfulness, we have toe capacity to recognize the habit energy every time it manifests. ‘Hello, my habit energy, I know you are there!’ If we just smile to it, it will lose much of its strength.” 


The idea of smiling at the most difficult habit energy instead of pushing it away to be pretty powerful, and difficult. I also met some cool folks, and that’s important. Even though meditation seems to be gaining widespread acceptance, it can still be a lonely, solitary pursuit. Sangha is a necessary corrective for isolation. 
Thanks to all the spring Hardcore Dharmaites! I hope to see you in the fall. 
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posted June 11, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I “have toe capacity” too–good to be reminded of it. Thanks for some wonderful posts, enjoy retreat, and see you in the fall! don’t neglect to check in with us summer bloggers, either. :)

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posted June 12, 2009 at 12:55 am

Thanks Ellen! I’ll be posting a bit this summer, ghosting in and out like ninja. Ya know.

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