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The Sun Magazine

Religion and Philosophy



Fritz’s Heart

They want to make all pain go away, but that is impossible. Pain is like the sand in an hourglass: a certain amount must sift through your soul before your life is over.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Fear Kills

There is a centuries-old Zen koan that has accumulated any number of answers through the years: How does the Buddha meditate when he is too hot or too cold? The ancient zendos made few concessions to the severe climate: there was no heat; you were given maybe one blanket, and you wore the same garment winter and summer. One answer was “Buddha hot, Buddha cold,” which meant: when you’re hot, sweat; when you’re cold, shiver — what’s the problem? Another seems at first glance to say the opposite: “Heat kills, cold kills.” It is not heat and cold themselves that kill, but our ideas about them. Heat and cold are not problems. They are just facts. It is what we do with them that creates problems.