Social Justice

Buddhism teaches that we are noble by our actions, not by birth or circumstance
  • Laurie Anderson Partners with Former Gitmo Detainee in Newest Work Paid Member

    In her new work, HABEAS CORPUS (October 2–4 in the Park Avenue Armory’s Drill Hall), artist Laurie Anderson has partnered with former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohammed el Gharani to explore the story of his seven years of being interrogated and tortured at the prison camp. The work features an installation and performances, and fuses different elements of film, sculpture, music, and video. Since all ex-detainees from Guantanamo Bay are currently barred from entering the United States, el Gharani will appear as part of this installation live from West Africa, beamed into the Armory Drill Hall via advanced streaming techniques and three-dimensional imaging. It will be the first real-time meeting between a former detainee and American audiences. More »
  • Myanmar Buddhists’ Beef Paid Member

    Last year a Muslim businessman called Lwin Tun set up a factory in Labutta, a town in Myanmar's Ayeyarwady Delta. He spent $330,000 on buildings and cooling systems, but couldn't buy the product his factory was meant to process: meat. That's because Labutta's seven cattle slaughterhouses, also Muslim-owned, had suddenly gone out of business. In January 2014 they had tried to renew their licenses, but local authorities had already sold them to an association led by members of the radical Buddhist group Ma Ba Tha. The Muslim slaughterhouses went bust—and so, after just three months, did Lwin Tun's meat-processing factory. More »
  • Don't Worry, Be Angry Paid Member

    Buddhists often shame each other for expressing anger. But getting in touch with our anger is vital. If we aim to engage destructive social structures, as we must, our efforts will bring us into direct relationship with anger and outrage. At its worst, anger burns us up, injures others, or, when we repress it, collapses us into depression. In the spiritual realm, it can also become passive aggression, which either internalizes as the hyper-energized inner critic or projects out onto those who are "not following the rules.” More »
  • Why Are Myanmar Nuns Not Granted the Same Respect as Monks? Paid Member

    A young Buddhist nun rides Yangon's circular train in June 2015. Born of Buddhist parents and raised in a Buddhist environment, I grew up as a typical Myanmar Buddhist girl. Under the care of my grandmother, it was hammered into my brain that we should worship and pay the utmost respect to Buddhist monks in all circumstances. My grandmother instructed me, for example, to never sit on the same level as monks, but place myself at their feet. Yet in all the years of my childhood she never said a word about how to behave in front of Buddhist women who had become nuns. More »
  • Black, Bisexual, and Buddhist Paid Member

    OAKLAND, Calif. (RNS) When Zenju Earthlyn Manuel goes to teach somewhere for the first time, she often sees surprise in the faces of the students as she is introduced. She doesn’t look like many of them expect. She isn’t Asian. She isn’t a man. And she isn’t white. And getting them to acknowledge that her body—her “manifestation,” as she calls it—is different and a part of her experience is crucial to her teaching. If our bodies are sources of suffering, then we ignore them at our peril. “When I have held and embraced who I am, how I am embodied, it has become a source of enlightenment, of freedom,” she said from a sunny corner window seat in her living room. Draped in a black monk’s jacket, she is a stark contrast to the white walls and white upholstery of the rest of the room. More »