The consolations of Buddhism for a troubled planet

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buddha head

As I have aged, the four main principles of Buddhism have become more and more significant to me.

I have accepted the concept of there being no “self” or ego, realising that we are all interconnections (with the rest of the Universe).

The idea of impermanence is also logical and acceptable as we all enjoy, or find miserable, the brief sojourn between the twin oblivions of pre-birth and post-death.

The next two principles are the ones that now weigh heavily upon me as the world lurches, staggers and suffers under the assault of human overpopulation and the associated fear and loathing this engenders.

Suffering is a basic tenet and we all suffer to some extent in our lives, physically, mentally and emotionally. I now find this suffering to be almost unbearable, not particularly for myself, but for the whole of life as people become greedier, crueller, completely self-orientated and deluded.

This suffering then induces the last of the great principles — detachment.

This is an ideal that always appealed to me — not alienation or ignoring things but simply removing yourself from the banal, the stupid and the ugly.

Such is the prevalence of these factors in modern humanity that increasing detachment becomes necessary for survival.

Merridy Pugh

Merridy Pugh is an editor and writer based in Hobart. She loves books, sun and tropical fish.

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