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Joan Iten Sutherland

"Body of Radiant Knots" in Friedman and Moon's Being Bodies

In this essay Sutherland focuses on “the powerful act of naming what you want" a "dynamic acceptance" (as opposed to passive acceptance). She describes looking outside the teachings of traditional Buddhism, being drawn to Native American Shamanism and finding it useful in creating a balance between active and receptive qualities, between will/intentionality and openness/non-attachment.

It's easy to emphasize one at the expense of the other; it's not easy to do both at the same time. Sutherland says "There's an essential mystery here. From the perspective of emptiness, living or dying doesn't matter, sick or well doesn't matter. This is not indifference, but an affirmation that life shines everywhere equally, without distinction or preference. It's all holy. In the same moment, without separation, it does matter whether my head hurts or my energy is good today. This is also holiness. Both are buddha-nature: empty buddha, sick buddha. Body of radiance, body of knots. Body of radiant knots." (p. 7)

This kind of affirmation of paradox is fundamental to my understanding of a spirituality that is relevant to real life.

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