Our root problem, it seems to me, is at its core a problem of consciousness. I would characterize this problem briefly as a fundamental existential dislocation, a dislocation having both cognitive and ethical dimensions.
That is, it involves both a disorientation in our understanding of reality, and a distortion or inversion of the proper scale of values, the scale that would follow from a correct understanding of reality.
Because our root problem is one of consciousness, this means that any viable solution must be framed in terms of a transformation of consciousness. It requires an attempt to arrive at a more accurate grasp of the human situation in its full depth and breadth.
[And it requires] a turning of the mind and heart in a new direction, a direction commensurate with the new understanding, one that brings light and peace rather than strife and distress.
Before I discuss some of the responses that religion might make to the outstanding dilemmas of our age, I propose to offer a critique of the existential dislocation that has spread among such significant portion of humankind today.
Through most of this century, the religious point of view has been defensive. It may now be the time to take the offensive, by scrutinizing closely the dominant modes of thought that lie at the base of our spiritual malaise.
by Bhikkhu Bodhi
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