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Lions Roar : July 2018
increasing number of people in the Western world started practicing Buddhism in the last half of the twentieth century, the concept of Engaged Buddhism emerged. It is an attempt to apply Buddhist teaching to the realm of social transfor- mation, including peace and environmental work. Then, there arises a question: Are the Four Noble Truths sufficient to be the guiding principles for social transforma- tion? Or do we need other principles for social engagement? Some of you may say that the Four Noble Truths are enough and all we need to do is to reinterpret them at a time when the survival of humanity and the earth is at stake. Oth- ers may say that we need new principles of action to supple- ment the Four Noble Truths. I personally felt a need to summarize the commonsensical and basic belief I have been following unconsciously while participating in peace and environmental work. Thus the concept of the four commonplace truths has emerged. These truths are: 1. No situation is impossible to change. 2. A communal vision, outstanding strategy, and sustained effort can bring forth positive changes. 3. Everyone can help make a difference. 4. No one is free of responsibility. You may notice the Buddhist teaching of impermanence in the first principle. These principles have been inspired by the Buddha’s teaching, more than two and a half millennia old. But action for peace, the environment, and social justice should not be confined by religion or ideology. Likewise, these principles ought to be universal. They must be tested in all situations by all groups of people before they can defi- nitely be called “truths.” Until then, these four principles will merely be candidates for truths. Ten Laws of Breakthrough 1. Breakthrough may or may not occur. The result is unpre- dictable, and how it happens is mysterious. All we can do is to work toward breakthrough. 2. Some breakthroughs are life-affirming, and others destructive. 3. The chance for breakthrough increases when the objective and the process are clearly stated. 4. The chance for breakthrough increases when the blocks are clearly identified. Dogen, the founder of the Soto school of Zen Buddhism Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido LION’S ROAR | JULY 2018 54