The Buddha said: “I teach one thing and one thing only: the truth of suffering and the ending of suffering.” The Buddha spoke of the practice of mindfulness as being like swimming upstream against the current of our conditioning. With consistent mindfulness practice, wisdom and compassion regarding the causes of suffering deepens. Arising wise compassion urges action to reduce suffering.
Engaged Buddhism is remembering and practicing this Dharma as we encounter the many forms of social and environmental suffering which are buffeting our planet today, caused by the three poisons of greed, aversion and delusion. On a planetary level we face a global pandemic, forest depletion, species extinction, climate disruption, polluted air and water, war or threat of war, and large numbers of refugees fleeing political and climate caused disasters. In addition, within our country we are dealing with myriad problems caused by systemic racism, painful political divisiveness, extreme financial inequality, unequal access to health care, and unprecedented homelessness.
In the face of these difficulties, Bhikkhu Bodhi teaches it is not enough to stay in the comfort of our meditation halls but rather we need to take the moral integrity and compassion our practice develops into the political/social sphere of action. We are fortunate to have many teachers today to help us in this “off the cushion” practice. You are invited to explore these teachings with our Engaged Buddhist Study Group.
To explore actions you can take to reduce suffering, click on this link. Thank you for your practice both on and off the cushion.