Socially Engaged Buddhism: Faith‐inspired drivers of social and political change

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Socially Engaged Buddhism: Faith‐inspired drivers of social and political change
Chair & introduction. Monica Lindberg Falk, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University, Sweden.

This session invites paper that address issues related to socially engaged Buddhism. The Buddhist institutions have always been important actors in society; however, the monks’ and the nuns’ roles have shifted over the centuries and in different contexts. The global socially engaged Buddhist movement emphasis Buddhism’s engagement with society. Socially engaged Buddhism is a further development of ‘Engaged Buddhism’, which was a term coined by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh in the 1950s to reveal the potential within Buddhism for social activism. The socially engaged Buddhist movement is growing worldwide and covers many different activities for example: social work, poverty-alleviation, ecology and development programs, political activism, and human rights agitation. Socially engaged Buddhism also includes socially engaged Buddhists’ important roles in crises situations. The common unifying component is that people who apply the label to their activities perceive themselves as manifesting Buddhist principles in concrete activities aimed at benefiting people other than themselves, and especially seek to adapt Buddhist principles and practices to contemporary social issues.
Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi are examples of politically important socially engaged Buddhists. In many Asian contexts, new and modern forms of Buddhist practice and beliefs, grounded in the ancient form of Buddhism, continue to emerge. Gender equality is one of the foremost aims of engaged Buddhism. Endeavours such as the struggle undertaken by feminist Buddhists to restore the right of women to receive full ordination connect engaged Buddhism to the global struggle for gender equality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOutlook on Civil Society (CSD)
EditorsHeidi Moksnes, Mia Melin
PublisherUppsala Centre for Sustainable Development
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventFaith in Civil Society : Religious Actors as Drivers of Change - Uppsala, Sweden
Duration: 2012 Apr 242012 Apr 25

Publication series

ISSN (Print)1403-1264


ConferenceFaith in Civil Society : Religious Actors as Drivers of Change

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Social Sciences

Free keywords

  • Social Change
  • Gender
  • Feminism
  • Engaged Buddhism
  • Asia


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