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Lions Roar : March 2016
PHOTOSBYLIZAMATTHEWS In my understanding, part of our commitment as Buddhists is to practice deeply touching what freedom from greed, hatred, and delusion feels and looks like—not only on the individual level, but in our relationships, communities, institutions, and global political landscape. When we let the love of freedom illuminate our hearts, when we allow that love to be reflected in our words and actions, there is a kind of joy and energy that bubbles up. It’s the joy of living with integrity, and it has nothing at all to do with getting what we want. This is wonderful, actually, because we have no idea if we’ll get there, as individuals or as a society, in this lifetime. Reminding ourselves and each other that FREEDOM IS POSSIBLE is sometimes as simple as retelling the story of the Buddha’s awakening, or sharing a moment of awakening from our own lives, or lifting up the story of a community or country where the forces of love have driven out the forces of hatred. These stories connect us with our highest purpose and potential, and help orient us when the way forward seems unclear. May our hearts and minds remain buoyant as we walk the long road to the happy country, together. KATE JOHNSON can often be found at the intersection of meditation, art, and activism—teaching, writing, and occasionally dancing around. Norman Fischer: Compassion Is Our Only Choice No doubt the most important teaching the world needs to hear now from Buddhism—and from all our world religions—is compassion. The Buddhist teachings on love and compassion are, as far as I can tell, unique and radical. They say that others are one’s self, and that one’s self is others. So the best way to take care of yourself is to take care of others, and vice versa. This teaching has two practical consequences. First, it means that caring for others isn’t guilt-ridden self-sacrifice. It is a joy- ful extension of identity. LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2016 39