About

My favorite time of day is twilight, when the sun is just below the horizon. Light is diffuse and refracted. The world seems soft and full. Objects call out for a sense of curiosity. Things may not be what they seem. Things may not seem as they are. The atmosphere of possibility arouses the heart of interest.

Letters from Emptiness is a collection of writings that I hope will inspire introspection and curiosity. For these together are vital for liberation from the personal narrative—the feedback loop of dissatisfaction, expectations unfulfilled.

What if we were to discover that life defined by expectations is painful? That without attachment to them, our responses are imbued with possibility, flexibility, and openness.

What if we were to discover a moment empty of the expectations that the personal narrative breeds? What if that moment was right now? What if sight, sound, smell, taste, or feeling could draw awareness out of the dream of self-interest?

I love language that points to a fullness that is beyond words. I love double entendre, metaphor, and subtlety of phrase. Language such as this can coax us out of our canned responses that transform the world into a possession. My hope is to tell stories that expose the angst of narrative, and the myriad ways that life demonstrates peace.

We’ve all had experiences where something we are sure is true… turns out not to be. Or something we thought made perfect sense… does not. This is our starting point.

My interest in the human condition has been lifelong, with events from early life inviting much consideration and questioning. Decades later, when introduced to Zen thought and practice, this introspection was revealed as a great teacher. With guidance (and Dharma Transmission) from Steve Hagen, my journey found a home as a Zen teacher at Dharma Field. It became an opportunity to offer guidance to those who sought answers. But seeing the footprints of matriarchs and patriarchs everywhere, I stepped into a new chapter and left the life of formal teaching. To be immersed in muddy water without a formal role as one who sees, works for me as the most authentic expression of practice. Even so, some musings seem to want voice, so I write. Each posting is simply an invitation to look within.

 

5 thoughts on “About

  1. Emily Jones says:

    Dear Bev Forsman,

    I am a high school student studying Buddhism. I have read that you have a lot of knowledge on Buddhism and are a teacher of it too. I am hoping you have some time to answer a few questions that will help me understand Buddhism more.

    First, how can Buddhism be helpful to people? That is, how might it help people through rough parts of their lives? Then, how does someone truly become enlightened? Finally, why, in your opinion, is Buddhism becoming more common?

    I really appreciate you taking the time to read my email and hopefully answering a few of my questions.

    Sincerely,
    Emily Jones

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    • suvinita says:

      >>Authentic Buddhist teachings point to our confusion about the way things are. We are invited to notice the pain, tension, and frustration that arise because we believe our assumptions about life are the truth about life. We assume that our formulas and beliefs correspond to reality, and we cling to expectations that revolve around satisfying ourselves. The risk of disappointment and confusion is ever present. The teachings invite us to notice the busy mind that yearns to satisfy itself. Believing in and identifying with an abiding self is the source of this dissatisfaction and difficulty. Seeing this belief for what it is, transforms our actions into compassion and generosity.

      >>Realization/enlightenment is seeing through the tightly-held belief that we are a particular abiding “self” living out our lives in relation to the “things” of our life that we assume are separate from us. Not finding such a persisting entity called “self”, there is no one in particular who becomes enlightened. There is simply enlightenment. The opportunity to to shine light on confusion is ever present, ever available. Life is lived as confusion or enlightenment in any moment.

      Practice begins with open curiosity. In the simple noticing (no judgment) of dissatisfaction and the behavior that comes from that dissatisfaction, there is already an interest, an aspiration to know what this life truly is. Wholeheartedly participate in the life of this moment and immediately that true life is revealed.

      >>We seem to be in a perpetual dance; moving away from what we don’t like and moving toward what we like. When we’re not actively moving about, we yearn for the arrival of what we want, and dread the arrival of what we don’t want. The teachings of the Awakened invite us to take a different path. Some have exhausted the ready-made list of “solutions” that, by nature, can only be a temporary comfort. They are ready to try a new approach.

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