Engaged Buddhism

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Engaged Buddhism refers to Buddhists who are seeking ways to apply the insights from meditation practice and dharma teachings to situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice. Finding its roots in Vietnam through the Zen Buddhist teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh,[1] Engaged Buddhism has grown in popularity in the West.[2]

Origins[edit]

The term was coined by the Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh,[3] inspired by the humanistic Buddhism reform movement in China by Taixu and Yinshun and later propagated in Taiwan by Cheng Yen and Hsing Yun.[4] At first, he used Literary Chinese, the liturgical language of Vietnamese Buddhism, calling it in Chinese: 入世佛教; literally: "Worldly Buddhism". During the Vietnam War, he and his sangha (spiritual community) made efforts to respond to the suffering they saw around them, in part by coopting the nonviolence activism of Mahatma Gandhi in India and of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States to oppose the conflict.[1][5] They saw this work as part of their meditation and mindfulness practice, not apart from it.[1] Thich Nhat Hanh outlined fourteen precepts of engaged Buddhism, which explained his philosophy.[6]

As early as 1946, Walpola Rahula identified an explicit social ethos present in the earliest recorded Buddhist teachings, noting that the Buddha encouraged early monks to travel in order to benefit the largest number of people and that his discourses to lay people often included practical instructions on social and economic matters, rather than being purely concerned with philosophical or soteriological concerns.[7]

Socially engaged Buddhism in the West[edit]

In the West, like the East, engaged Buddhism is a way of attempting to link authentic Buddhist practice—particularly mindfulness—with social action.[8][9] It has two main centers from which its approach, spearheaded by Thich Nhat Hanh, is disseminated, namely the Plum Village monastic community in Loubes-Bernac, France and the Community of Mindful Living (CML) in Berkeley, California.[5] Both centers are tied to Hanh's Unified Buddhist Church.[5] Beside Hanh's efforts, the current Dalai Lama has voiced a need for Buddhists to be more involved in the socio-political realm:

In 1998, while on retreat in Bodh Gaya, India, [...] the Dalai Lama told those of us who were participating in a Buddhist-Christian dialogue that sometimes, Buddhists have not acted vigorously to address social and political problems. He told our group, "In this, we have much to learn from the Christians."[8]

Christians have rallied in attempts of bringing peace and hope to those distressed in the midst of political and social tragedies. The intention of these evangelizing groups is not to evoke tension or violence among groups or individuals, or to force any solutions onto individuals, however their goal is to provide comfort and demonstrate acts of love and kindness.[10]

Organizations such as the Soka Gakkai International, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Buddhist Global Relief, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists, the Zen Peacemakers led by Roshi Bernard Glassman and Thich Nhat Hanh's Order of Interbeing[5] are devoted to building the movement of engaged Buddhists. Other engaged Buddhist groups include the Benevolent Organisation for Development, Health and Insight, Gaden Relief Projects, the UK's Network of Buddhist Organisations, Fo Guang Shan and Tzu Chi.

Prominent figures in the movement include Robert Aitken Roshi,[11] Joanna Macy,[11] Gary Snyder,[12] Alan Senauke,[13] Sulak Sivaraksa,[14] Daisaku Ikeda, Maha Ghosananda,[15] Sylvia Wetzel, Joan Halifax,[16] Tara Brach,[17] Taigen Dan Leighton,[18] Ken Jones,[19] Jan Willis. Bhante Sujato[20] and Bhikkhu Bodhi.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Malkin, John (July 1, 2003). "In Engaged Buddhism, Peace Begins with You" [archive]. Lion's Roar. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Queen, Chris; King, Sallie (1996). Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia. New York: Albany State University Press. p. 2. ISBN 0-7914-2843-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Duerr, Maria (March 26, 2010). "An Introduction to Engaged Buddhism" [archive]. PBS. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Queen, Christopher (2000). Engaged Buddhism in the West. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. p. 36. ISBN 0-86171-159-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Irons, Edward (2008). Encyclopedia of Buddhism. New York, NY: Checkmark Books. pp. 176–177. ISBN 9780816077441.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Hanh, Thich Nhat (April 12, 2017). "The Fourteen Precepts of Engaged Buddhism" [archive]. Lion's Roar. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Rahula, Walpola (1974). The Heritage of the Bhikkhu [archive] (1st English ed.). New York: Grove Press. pp. 3–7 [archive]. ISBN 0-8021-4023-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jonas, Robert A. (2006). "Engaged Buddhism" [archive]. Empty Bell. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Loy, David. "What's Buddhist about Socially Engaged Buddhism" [archive]. zen-occidental.net. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Stone, Bryan P. (2007). Evangelism After Christendom: The Theology and Practice of Christian Witness. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos Press. ISBN 978-1587431944. OCLC 70803303 [archive].<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 Winston, Diana. "Justify Your Love: Finding Authority for Socially Engaged Buddhism" [archive]. Urban Dharma. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Jeschke, Matt (December 23, 1994). "Interview with Gary Snyder" [archive]. cuke.com. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "About Hozan Alan Senauke" [archive]. Lion's Roar. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Lewis, Craig (June 6, 2018). "Compassion and Kalyana-mittata: The Engaged Buddhism of Sulak Sivaraksa" [archive]. Buddhistdoor. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Bloomfeld, Vishvapani (March 28, 2007). "Obituary: Maha Ghosananda" [archive]. The Guardian. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "About Engaged Buddhism: Roshi Joan Halifax" [archive]. Upaya Zen Center. August 8, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "BuddhaFest Teaching: Tara Brach on Love" [archive]. Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. June 22, 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Our Guiding Teacher: Taigen Dan Leighton" [archive]. Ancient Dragon Zen Gate. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Ken Jones, Welsh Author and Activist, Dies at 85" [archive]. Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. August 10, 2015. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Lam, Raymond (December 9, 2016). "An Afternoon with Ajahn Sujato: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha's Moral Purpose" [archive]. Buddhistdoor Global. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Valdez, Regina (October 4, 2016). "Fusing Contemplative Practice with Social Action" [archive]. Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Retrieved September 7, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]