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Finding Peace in Chaos: Lessons from Buddhist Practice 

-Thao Ngo MAPREP student from Vietnam

The current global situation has become more chaotic than ever. On a daily basis, news headlines are inundated with reports of wars between Ukraine and Russia, as well as conflicts between Israel and Palestine. Political crises have escalated among major countries, and natural disasters such as earthquakes, storms, and forest fires are becoming more severe each year due to El Niño and La Niña, which result from global warming. Economies have not fully recovered from the pandemic and are now further affected by wars, leading to increased pressure from inflation and rising food prices. Not to mention, the ongoing global pandemic may resurface with new variations of Covid-19 during the winter. 

Unraveling difficult situation, chaos and mess. Metaphor of problem solving. Unraveling tangled tangle. Vector illustration isolated on white background

We all may recognize that this is a degenerated time in the cosmic cycle, and many non-Buddhists may view the worldly situation negatively and with disappointment. However, as Buddhist practitioners, we can leverage these adverse circumstances in this dark age to progress more swiftly along the path to liberation. From another perspective, this is an opportune moment to contemplate the impermanence of life in many aspects, including the certainty of death. Consequently, individuals may reduce their attachment to worldly possessions, learn to cherish the present moment, and treat others with kindness more than ever. Furthermore, the suffering experienced when dealing with adversity can lead to reduced clinging to life and a deeper commitment to renunciation. 

In essence, Buddhists should strive to deeply understand the three marks of existence: impermanence, suffering, and not-self, in order to live more fully and peacefully in this dark age. This wisdom can save not only oneself but also others in this life and in future lives. 

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