using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : November 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2012 54 UNLESS YOU’RE ON LONG RETREAT in a Himalayan cave, it’s becoming more difficult to overlook the fact that our world is beset by interacting eco- logical, economic, and social crises. Climate breakdown, species extinction, a dysfunctional economic system, corporate domination of government, overpopulation—it’s a critical time in human history, and the collective decisions we have to make during the next few years will set the course of events for generations to come. Yet the more we learn about our situation, the more overwhelmed and dis- couraged many of us become. The problems are so enormous and intimidating that we don’t know where to start. We end up feeling powerless, even paralyzed. For those inspired by Buddhist teachings, an important issue is whether Buddhism can help us respond to these crises. As Paul Hawken points out in Blessed Unrest, there are already a vast number of large and small organiza- tions working for peace, social justice, and sustainability—at least a million and perhaps over two million, he estimates. The question is whether a Buddhist per- spective has something distinctive to offer this movement. Historically, churches and churchgoers have played an important part in many reform movements; for example, the antislavery and civil rights campaigns. But much, perhaps most, of the impetus in the West for deep structural change originates in socialist and other progressive movements, which traditionally have been suspicious of religion. Marx viewed religion as “the opiate of the people” because too often churches have been complicit with political oppression, using their doctrines to rationalize the power of exploitative rulers and diverting believers’ attention from their present con- dition to “the life to come.” This critique applies to some Buddhist institutions as well—karma and rebirth teachings can be abused in this way—but at its best, Buddhism offers an alternative approach. The Buddhist path is not about qualifying for heaven but living in a different way here and now. This focus supplements nicely the Enter...the Bodhisattva DAVID LOY on why the bodhisattva ideal is what the world needs now. shepherdess, whose flock always comes first. This is the grandfather with the frogs or the pilot of the sinking plane. It’s the story of firemen entering a burning building or a mother risking her life to save her child. The shepherd and shepherdess automatically put others before themselves. Almost everyone assumes that putting others first is how we’re always supposed to approach the warrior commitment. And if we do anything less, we criticize ourselves. But one way of entry isn’t bet- ter than another. It could be said that we evolve toward the attitude of the shepherd and shepherdess, but it’s a natural evolu- tion. The other two approaches are no less valid. The importance of this teaching is to point out that all three approaches are admirable, beautiful, to-be-applauded ways of making the warrior commitment. In fact, most of us use all three approaches. There are probably many examples in your life of working on yourself with the aspira- tion to be present and useful to other people. And there are times when your sorrow has connected you with the sorrow of others, when your grief or physical pain has been a catalyst for appreciating what another per- son is going through. There are also times when you spontaneously put others first. Coldheartedness and narrow-minded- ness are not the kinds of habits we want to reinforce. They won’t predispose us to awakening; in fact, they will keep us stuck. So we make the warrior commitment— take the vow to care for one another— then do our best to never turn our backs on anyone. And when we falter, we renew our commitment and move on, knowing that even the awakened ones of the past understood what it felt like to relapse. Otherwise, how could they have any idea about what other beings go through? Otherwise, how could they have culti- vated patience and forgiveness, loving- kindness, and compassion? ♦ From Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chödrön, © 2012. Published by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc. Members of the Buddhist Peace Delegation at a peace march in Washington, 2007. PHOTOBYMAIADUERR/JIZOCHRONICLES.COM