There are other ways that Buddhist practice and social engagement need each other. We know that without a spiritual practice, social engagement tends to burn us out because it is emotionally stressful and exhausting. From the other side, however, something else needs to be emphasized just as much: that . I recognize this is a strong claim, which many people may be inclined to resist; but it is the crux of the matter, as we will see. And, of course, without understanding the basic problem we can hardly expect to address it successfully. Instead, our responses almost always miss the mark and we are likely to end up with a social situation worse than when we started. Why did the French Revolution evolve into the Terror and the rise of a new dictator, Napoleon? Why did the Marxist movement turn into Leninism and then Stalinism, Maoism, and the Khmer Rouge? Because the fundamental issue at stake was never just class privilege or capital (although they are certainly important dimensions of the problem). Then what is the basic issue? What does a Buddhist perspective reveal?


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