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Lions Roar : September 2005
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2005 101 enough down the rabbit hole, you may eventually lose the reference point of yourself. For example, Stephen Lewis is the premier activist in the West working on the AIDS crisis in Africa: he’s definitely not in it for himself. Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian general who headed up the U.N. Peacekeeping Force to Rwanda: all he got was nightmares. Schindler saving the Jews in his factory in Nazi Germany: he ruined himself. Gandhi and Martin Luther King: it wasn’t a “me” thing. You don’t have to start with perfect motiva- tion. Young volunteers who are just checking off a box on their resumé might get sidetracked if they go far enough, look far enough. One of them might become the next Stephen Lewis. THE BUDDHIST TRADITION, which exposed the Three Lords of Materialism for what they are, presents other clues for how one might transcend materialism and put the kibosh on the Three Lords. The alternative presented in the Buddhist teachings is called taking refuge. In this case, it is taking refuge from, rather than taking refuge in. The swirling world of samsaric confusion is immense- ly powerful; it covers every single mil- limeter and millisecond of our experi- ence. It papers over our mind with thoughts, feelings, emotions, percep- tions, beliefs, and convictions. We take refuge in our wardrobe, we take refuge in our sports [sports] car, we take refuge in our B.A., M.A., Ph.D. We take refuge in our psychoanalyst. We take refuge in Astanga yoga, we take refuge in our fam- ilies, we take refuge in our jobs, we take refuge in our gods, we take refuge, we take refuge, we take refuge. The Buddha is an example of someone who walked out on this deception. He walked away from the palace. He realized that it wasn’t actually that good to be the king (apologies to Mel Brooks). He walked away from every system of thought and every ascetic setup that was offered to him as an alternative. The closer Lords of Materialism continued from page 60