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Lions Roar : September 2019
BUDDHISM: THE NEXT 40 YEARS BELIEVE MODERN THOUGHT’S greatest contribution to Buddhism is deepening our understanding of the second noble truth— the causes of suffering. According to Buddhism, the root cause of suf- fering is ego, our mistaken belief in a solid, sep- arate, and continuous self, and the three poisons we use to protect it—aggression, attachment, and ignorance. We act selfishly in service to a non-existent self. This is Buddhism’s essential, life-changing insight. By understanding and acting on it, we can reduce, and maybe even end, the suffering of beings. The second noble truth is the diagnosis that leads to the cure. Today our diagnosis is more accurate than ever. Buddhism traditionally said that the cause of suffering was personal and individual. Now to the personal causes of suffering we have added the psychological and the political. We understand how suffering and trauma are passed down within families, generation to gen- eration. We work to break the cycle. And we see how ego and the three poisons oper- ate on a vast scale in our political, social, and eco- nomic systems. We take action against injustice and work for a more caring society to fulfil our basic vow as Buddhists—to reduce suffering. Buddhists are political because so much suffering is political. In our fortieth anniversary series, we’re looking at the challenges facing Buddhism in the next for- ty years. In this issue, we hear from five Buddhists on the front lines of right activism. Because in the next forty years, there’s no greater challenge facing Buddhism than the challenges facing our world. — MELVIN MCLEOD, Editor-in-Chief Right Activism I LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2019 68