In the opening editorial of our May 2017 issue, our editor-in-chief Melvin McLeod discusses being of benefit, and why it’s the central commitment of Buddhism.
If I want to sell you on reading Lion’s Roar, conventional wisdom says I should talk about benefits. Discover a better way to drink a cup of tea! Lose weight!! Have better sex!!!
Those are all good things. In fact, you can read about them in this very issue. But benefits are not really what Buddhism is about. Buddhism—and by extension Lion’s Roar—is about benefit. What a difference that one letter makes.
The central commitment of Buddhists is to bring benefit to sentient beings. What is benefit? It takes many forms in accord with people’s deepest needs. It is the product of wisdom and compassion and is closely linked to virtue. In our heart of hearts, we all long to be of benefit.
The Buddha saw that beings were in pain and wanted to ease their suffering. His vow to benefit sentient beings led him to the insights and methods we know today as Buddhism. That’s why we publish Lion’s Roar : because we believe the Buddha’s wisdom can be of immense benefit to people lives, our society, and the world’s future.
This issue showcases the many ways that Buddhist teachers today are creating benefit. Twenty-six hundred years after the Buddha, in a very different world, Buddhist teachers are sincerely following his path and offering benefit in many of the same ways he did.
We start from the same place the Buddha did. We’re human beings just like him, and we can use the same methods he did to address our own suffering and benefit others.
They teach us meditation. We start from the same place the Buddha did. We’re human beings just like him, and we can use the same methods he did to address our own suffering and benefit others. In this issue, eleven leading Buddhist teachers answer the most important questions about how you can meditate like the Buddha to awaken your mind and open your heart.
They help us love. If there’s one thing that will change our world for the better—and our lives—it’s more love and compassion. Lindsay Kyte profiles the extraordinary Thupten Jinpa, who has helped religion and science join forces in a campaign for more compassion. His life and output are equally amazing, and so is the benefit he has created.
They offer us true wisdom. We all search for clear answers to life’s mysteries. Years ago I sat at the feet of a famous old Tibetan lama. I would ask him a question and he would answer with a definite yes. Then, as I nodded my head in agreement, he would answer no just as definitely, leaving me dumbfounded.
In this issue, two of my favorite Buddhist teachers, Judy Lief and Norman Fischer, explain why true wisdom is not found in yes-or-no answers, but in the open mind of not-knowing which that lama was evoking in me.
They inspire us to act. I’m very proud that in this issue we’re publishing a statement by many prominent Buddhist teachers in response to the crisis in American politics. They address the question so many of us are asking: How can we act to be of most benefit at this crucial time? Their call to “Stand Against Suffering” is a wise and inspiring rallying cry for all people of goodwill.
There’s a traditional phrase Buddhists use to conclude a meditation session, teaching, or even an editorial like this one. It states the intention behind everything a Buddhist does. It summarizes our mission at Lion’s Roar:
May it be of benefit.