by David Lourie

Episode 10 deals with The Buddha's 2nd Truth, popularly known as "The Cause Of Suffering."  The gist of this principle, in popular terms, is that all the suffering you experience in life is ultimately based on your cravings.  "Craving" can be defined as your attachment to your desires.  Note that craving includes aversion, which is craving for the negation or avoidance of something.  Thus craving can be either a positive or a negative attraction. The basic idea of the
Buddha's 2nd Truth is that Life inevitably turns out to be "flawed," in terms of human values.  The "Human Condition" is a measure of pleasure laced with pain and conflict, ending with the trials of ageing, sickness and dying.  The most
elementary observations of our world reveal that every creature must destroy others to stay alive -- and that is the
fundamental context in which Life as we know it unfolds.  This cycle of constant devouring is the core pattern which defines Life's essential nature.  This is why many Eastern philosophies and religions regard Life as a condition we must get beyond, as opposed to the more Western concept of Life being something to celebrate. Rare is the individual who can look around at the world with a compassionate heart and sincerely proclaim that all is as it should be -- that this is the best of all possible worlds for everyone involved.  Indeed, even if you yourself have material comfort and security, you can still observe that for most people life is basically imperfect, often unfair, at times cruel, always transient and deeply unsatisfactory in terms of our mundane circumstances.
QUESTION: What is at the core of this ongoing affliction we call Life? 
ANSWER: Ego and Craving are at the core of the affliction. 
QUESTION: How do I transform the affliction to make my life more worthwhile and
meaningful, with less suffering?
ANSWER: To create value and meaning in your own life, follow a spiritual path,
which can lead to the cessation of personal Ego and Craving.  As your life becomes more Empty of Ego and Craving, your suffering diminishes, your happiness increases and you have more to contribute.  Then your life becomes
more worthwhile and meaningful.
Not being able to let go of your cravings will inevitably lead to suffering -- and in most instances, not just your own
suffering! Your suffering affects your mood and responses to life, and those ripple out to affect your whole social
environment -- in the same way that your happiness, love, compassion and everything else you give out affects those around you.  Therefore many people take it as their social responsibility to stay on a spiritual path in order to make a beneficial contribution to the community, rather than contributing their problems or negative feelings. And that is
precisely what our novice monk Bodhi has set out to do, by embarking on his spiritual journey.  However, for our

Dharma the Cat (Continued on page 12)