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Lions Roar : January 2017
was. Yet when we look closely at the ways he acted in the world he inhabited, and at the teachings he left behind for us all to follow, I think it is fair to say the Buddha was one of the more radical humans ever to have walked the earth. The word “radical,” according to a pocket dictionary at hand, most simply means “favoring fundamental change.” This is a surprising definition, but it Then with the gleaming of the night, Close to the rising of the sun, All my craving simply dried up As I sat there with my legs crossed. —The Theragatha EVERY BUDDHA IMAGE we see reflects such calm, amused acceptance that it is not easy to appreciate just how radical a figure Siddhartha Gotama Buddha really FROM WHERE I SIT Buddha, the Ultimate Radical It was not just his teachings on gender and class, which seem modern even today. ANDREW OLENDZKI on all that made the Buddha one of the most radical people who ever lived. certainly suits the Buddha well. The first really radical thing the Buddha did was walk away from a very comfortable life as prince and heir-apparent of an admittedly minor kingdom. This is not unheard of, but it was remarkable for not having been precipitated by the death of a loved one, a sudden illness, a political reversal, or by some other disruptive event. CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE ©VERAKOZLENKO/DREAMSTIME.COM LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2017 13