A Less Obvious Problem: Spirituality As Bypass

Life is suffering. Existence is bondage to bodily experiences of emotion, excrement, illness, pain, and death. Dharmic spirituality posits this fundamental reality of suffering as inherent to our very being. The importance of this teaching is apparent in its scriptural placement; it is the Buddha's First Noble Truth and the first line of the Sāṃkhya Karika. These traditions begin with the premise of suffering as it is the nature of reality itself. Evidence of this wisdom is observable in our life by simply witnessing our fluctuating mind and by stepping out into society. Suffering has many expressions; ubiquitous today are the COVID-19 pandemic, mass shootings, sexual violence, police killings of unarmed Black men, human trafficking, environmental destruction, systemic racism, misogyny, animal cruelty, murder of transgender peoples, political unrest, and white supremacy. There was a nationwide, collective eruption of anger after the murder of George

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