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Lions Roar : September 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2006 41 Yes, the world may seem particularly dangerous and uncertain now, says the novelist Charles R. Johnson, but it’s wise to remember that the ways of history— and the dharma’s response— haven’t changed since the time of the Buddha. The painfully perturbing dissolution of familiar forms, which suggests to weaker spirits that the ultimate reality is nothing but a chaos, may re- veal to a steadier and more spiritual vision the truth that the flickering film of the phenomenal world is an illusion which cannot obscure the eternal unity that lies behind it. ARNOLD J. TOYNBEE A STUDY OF HISTORY FOR THOSE WHO TAKE REFUGE in the teachings of the dharma, a crucial and recur- ring theme in our meditation is the experience of impermanence (anicca) and the inevitability of change. For a decade now, I’ve occasionally tried out on my friends and students a prediction about the historical moment we find ourselves living through at the dawn of the twenty-first century. It’s an idea about change for which I have only anecdotal examples, and no empirical proof whatsoever. That means this conjecture is only a hunch at best, something glimpsed COLLAGES BY ROBERT DEL TREDICI Dharma for a Dangerous Time by Charles Johnson