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Lions Roar : November 2016
HOW CAN BUDDHIST PRACTICE help us when we face troubled times, both collectively and individually? It’s not as if times of fear and despair are anything new. People have fought wars, struggled to survive, faced injus- tice, experienced loss, dealt with violence and greed, and been caught up in historical movements beyond their con- trol pretty much forever. Life has never been that easy. In Buddhist practice, you learn never to shy away from facing the pain of the human condition. At the same time, you also learn not to shy away from the beauty and value of life in all its forms. The Scream after Edvard Munch, 1984 (silkscreen on canvas), Andy Warhol JUDY LIEF is a Buddhist teacher and the editor of many books of teachings by the late Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She is the author of Making Friends with Death. How Not to Freak Out It’s so easy these days to despair about the present and fear for the future. If you find all the bad news overwhelming, Buddhist teacher JUDY LIEF has some meditations to help you relieve your political pain. • By clearly seeing the extremes of experience, you learn to scout a middle way. It is easy to become so consumed by your fears for this world that you lose your balance. It is hard to think about the challenges facing our planet and not feel overwhelmed. It seems as if we humans never learn. Instead, we keep perpetuating the same dysfunctional behavior in every gen- eration. Only now, we have the capacity to create havoc on a global scale, to the extent of threatening the continuation of life on this planet. We not only continue to rely on age-old habits of violence, greed, and deception, but we have put these habits on steroids. On an individual level, we can’t seem to stretch beyond the narrow bounds of self-interest and looking out for number one. This focus on ourselves feeds our fear and makes us susceptible to manipulation. It feels as if the worse things get, the more LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2016 49