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June 19, 2012


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Ben Howard

Barry - This teaching provides a valuable perspective, but I might suggest that its value lies offering a counterpoise: an alternative to the view that personal suffering is created by external conditions. The world around me includes atrocities in Syria and genocide in Darfur, which are not of my making. Practice can help me maintain my equanimity, but if it can also do me a disservice if it leads me to believe that the suffering I'm witnessing--and absorbing--is somehow (or merely) the product of my conditioning.

Barry Briggs

Thank you for your comment, Ben. Many people do view Buddhism as a kind of solipsism and, if that were true, Buddhism wouldn't have much value in the world. Maybe in a mountain cave, but not in the world.

In my reading of today's passage, ZM Bon Soeng doesn't invoke a solipsistic view of suffering. He says, "We make our own life . . . we make our own suffering." But he doesn't say, thank goodness, that we make (or fabricate) the suffering of others.

However, our conditioning - or freedom therefrom - does guide how we respond to the suffering of others. Hence, the importance of practice.

David Clark

Great quote, Barry. Very timely as well.

How can we effectively deal with this world's very real problems if we are ourselves are living in a state “like a drunken stupor”?
People in drunken stupors tend to make very poor decisions. Seeing this world clearly, unclouded by self-generated delusion should be seen as step one in repairing our broken world.



I posted this on Facebook...I wonder how many will "like" it...consciously, or not...

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