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Inquiry into the Nature of Socially Engaged Buddhism
February 4, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Two Evenings of Inquiry into the Nature of Socially Engaged Buddhism
February 4th and 11th
Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.
Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now.
You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.
On this first evening, three Sangha members will offer brief accounts of the ways they are working locally to influence social and political choices. Our assumption is that many sangha members are doing this, whether through voting, volunteer activities, or personal consumption choices. We will follow with a discussion centered around these three questions:
1. Do you ever suffer – physically, psychologically, emotionally, or spiritually – from political, social, economic, or environmental conditions affecting you and others? If so, what do you do about it?
2. Do the terms “engaged Buddhism” and “activism” evoke positive, negative, or neutral sensations/ feeling tones for you?
3. Is engaged Buddhism part of your practice? If so, does it include activism?
We encourage you to prepare a list of the ‘socially conscious’ activities that engage you. Even if you do not consider these activities to be engaged Buddhism we invite everyone to individually and anonymously provide a written list at the first meeting on February 4. The lists will be compiled and presented by on February 11.
What goes on the list? Everything. You might wish to note that you have used your own cup and lid when buying tea at Starbucks for the past five years, and since you buy five cups a week, that means you have eliminated 1,300 plastic cup lids from entering the environment. Or perhaps you always carry a reusable water bottle now, or your own reusable straw. Or you have been driving a hybrid or an electric car for the past year. Or maybe you are working with a group on prison and criminal justice reforms. Or you are involved in lobbying for better health care. Or you do pro bono legal work for immigrant families. Or you invest in funds that put money only into companies that are aligned with social justice and environmental principles. Or you marched on MLK day, or in solidarity with women’s rights, LGBT rights, or with Black Lives Matter. Or … you get the idea. List it all. Because there is probably a lot there.
The February 4 session will include two brief presentations by Oscar Balaguer and Rollin Ives. In preparation, Oscar and Rollin invite you to read this article, “Stand Against Suffering, A Call to Action by Buddhist Teachers.” The article, signed by more than 140 Buddhist leaders, was published in Lion’s Roar on August 21, 2017.
Additional reading: “What’s Buddhist about Socially Engaged Buddhism?” by David Loy.
Both sessions will be facilitated by So On Jim Hare.