Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Interbeing: Day 27 - 30 Day Challenge

We live in a world that celebrates individualism. It is easy to forget how much we truly need each other and are profoundly connected beyond the superficial level. The construct of “Interbeing” was introduced into the North American Buddhist vocabulary by Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) in his commentary on the Heart of the Prajnaparamita Sutra:
“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. “Interbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter-“ with the verb “to be,” we have a new verb, inter-be.”

According to Thay, a critical aspect of the construct of interbeing is the realization that there is no independent self. The perception of self, of “me”, of “mine” is an illusion, albeit a sometimes pleasant one. Increasing our awareness of how truly connected we are to each other, and how each action that we take can impact others, empowers us to move through the world from a place of wonder and grace.

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