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The reality of our existence has become the perplexing question of post-modernity.

However, the ultimate answer to this question will always be death. Life and death are opposites; yet we know that death will never be understood. Thus, through the Buddhist concept of non-duality, life and death cannot be separated. Therefore, the unknowability of death will always provoke a lack of uncertainty about: the value of life, how we should act in life, the reality of life, and overall what the meaning of life is. In David Loys, The Great Awakening, he recognizes this uncertainty as the root of social dukkha or suffering. He emphasizes that, the awareness of our inevitable end often pervades and colors everything that we do--so thoroughly that it poisons life. Insofar as I am afraid to die, I also become afraid to live, (Loy: 20). This fearful attitude that Loy often describes as an inescapable anxiety, characterizes the dukkha of our world. Only once we are collectively able to rid our society of this overarching fear, can we then truly live and initiate social reform. Through the continuity of suffering over the decades, and this pit of anxiety that persists through it all, society has more or less eradicated the general reliance on a religious sacred canopy (Loy: 4). In doing so, the Buddhist doctrine of Karma and rebirth must also be reevaluated. Without the comfort or belief in an eternal realm which is presented by religion, Buddhisms doctrine of karma no longer has a relevant sense of cosmic justice (Wright: 81). In postmodernism this lack of cosmic justice can be visualized in vast inequalities and social injustices that envelope contemporary societies--in other words, through suffering. This social dukkha epitomizes the disheartening effects of globalization. Through the fundamentals of Mahayana Bud-

dhism, (impermanence, dependent arising, and the emptiness of everything,) an analysis of the nature, cause, and the solution towards poverty can be developed. Every instance of poverty is derived from contingent circumstances manifested outwards in such a way that generates the existing poverty; the poverty might not have happened, but it did occur under these circumstances. Due to the contingent emergence of such instances of poverty, the reality of transforming and overcoming these circumstances have become increasingly challenging and complex. Therefore, the clarity of the Buddhist doctrine of karma is muddled through the contemporary issue of poverty. Karma articulates a close relationship between what one chooses to do and who or what that person becomes over time, (Wright 79). However, what if a child with great potential and extreme motivation is blockaded by heaps of built up garbage and, is discarded by her dysfunctional school--did she really have a choice? Many people all over the world do not have the choice or freedom to overcome poverty. Even just within America, one of the wealthiest countries, the immense wealth gap exacerbates the disparities and establishes an immobilizing obstacle for the disadvantaged. This lack of mobility often develops an overwhelming sense of dukkha. The route to overcoming this internal suffering is through gaining a sense of equanimity through it all. It is for this reason, that the lack freedom and mobility presented by this contemporary institutionalized poverty hinders individuals ability to even seek equanimity. Often, the conditions are so eternally damaging, that any previous sense of resilience is lost and, ones overall health and life quality becomes tarnished. Meanwhile, approximately 350 of the wealthiest people make more than the combined income of 45 percent of the world (Loy: 18). Ergo, this increasing wealth gap and the virtually inescapable disadvantages that claim the poor cannot be a representation of karmic justice, but rather, of the fear of living that depicts post-modernity.

All societies are confronted with the same basic tragedy of life, which for Buddhism is not primarily poverty but illness, old age, and death - David Loy, page 69 It is the preceding quote through which I have come to understand the root and cause of poverty. Loy suggests that death for Buddhism embodies the basic tragedy of life, however, that solely tragic view of death characterizes the issue. As mentioned before, life and death are opposites and therefore inherently connected. Thus, if one envisions death as a tragedy, then through non-duality, life in turn, will be lived in a tragic manner. A life that is lived in fear of living would indeed be a tragedy. Yet, this fear is the existing cause of the dukkha. The reason individuals fear that which they do not know is because one cannot fully conceptualize something unless they have had the experience for themselves, and therefore one fears the unknown factor (Loy: 26,27). This same fear of unknown can be applied to the idea of anattman or no-self. The inescapable anxiety that Loy portrays equates to the emptiness of our being. Emptiness is what allows us to grow and transform, but a resistance towards this empty essence of our being will always lead to dissatisfaction. A reluctant individual would attempt to fill this pit of anxiety, with the poisons (greed, hatred, delusion), and through this a false sense of prosperity would arise. This individual would hope that through gaining the most power, or the largest sum of wealth, that he/she would unlock the key to a happy life, without suffering. However, this understanding of the meaning of life would lead only to dukkha and, would establish a fallible dependance on the profane world.

This false sense of security has imprisoned post-modernity and exists at the core of poverty. Concentrated areas of poverty lack the local and government fundings to improve their public schools and services and, to overcome their depravity. However, wealthier areas fear that if policy reforms send their money to these neighborhoods rather than to their own, that in response privileges would be extracted from their own district. In short, these individuals live in fear of what would happen to their lives if they experienced those disadvantages; they wouldnt want to be that miserable. This perceived misery, however, erroneously distributes hope and well-being into materialistic items that will never satisfy the groundlessness of our emptiness (Loy: 27). Income is not determinant of the amount of dukkah one experiences, however, the opportunities that test ones ability to cope, can occur more frequently in the lives of the disadvantaged. In order to first address the issues of poverty through Buddhist thought the non dualistic nature of wealth and poverty must be affirmed. The implications of poverty radiate onto everyone, not just those who are feeling the constraints daily. This non-dualistic nature of poverty and wealth is not only characterized by Buddhist philosophies of emptiness but it is also, further qualified through scientific and social studies, about how the burden of poor health care falls onto the whole nation. This can be exemplified through the United States which has one of highest collective incomes of all countries, yet, it has the greatest amount of poverty. Poor public health and housing is economically shown to severely impact the quality of life for the entire population. Theses relative truths about the current state of our country, expose the emptiness of our essence and the non-duality we have with everything that we interact with. The postmodern destruction of a cosmic justice calls us to take action into our own hands (Wright: 81). Upon the realization of our non-duality, we can therefore understand how

our individual actions can influence the flux of the world. Every small decision that we make from day-to-day shapes our character and our surrounding environment in ways that far exceed any income or material growth that one accumulates. We cannot expect justice to happen on its own, because it is a dependent condition that is contingent on the specific experiences that exist only through the temporary stases of occurrences in this moment. Past methods to overcome the economic conditions are no longer relevant, just as these moments will soon no longer be relevant for future endeavors. Thus, the actions needed to reform the social injustices become our duty--if justice is not structured into the universe itself, then it will have been a substantial mistake to leave it up to the universe, (Wright 82). Fear is the paralyzing characteristic which interferes with the ability to reform todays issues of poverty.