Sometimes I lose sight of the distinction between avoiding dukkha and coming to the end of dukkha:
Avoiding dukkha means turning away from it; coming to the end of dukkha means facing it head on.Perhaps this is why I find Zen to be such an honest practice. There is nothing about it that provides the least insulation from dukkha. Nothing. Of course, I can put up all the insulation I want, but, in the end, I also know it won't be practice.
Avoiding dukkha means trying to alter circumstances; coming to the end of dukkha means discovering my own resistances and attachments in the midst of circumstances.
Avoiding dukkha means keeping up the conceit of a self; coming to the end of dukkha means realizing the self's utter emptiness.
Avoiding dukkha only results in more dukkha; coming to the end of dukkha is the only way to find release from dukkha.
I often wonder what it is I'm supposed to do to make priest practice different from lay practice. Maybe it's a matter of being just that much more willing to open up to dukkha's tuition.