Social Justice

Buddhism teaches that we are noble by our actions, not by birth or circumstance
  • Tricycle Community 1 comment

    Awakening for All Paid Member

    According to social activist Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, “the ten perfections can be cultivated when one diligently serves the poor.” Photo Courtesy of Sarvodaya USA You are called the Gandhi of Sri Lanka. But Gandhi was a Hindu, and you are a Buddhist. How have Gandhian principles influenced you as a Buddhist? It is embarrassing for me when they compare me to Gandhi. Gandhi was so great. Certainly Gandhi was influenced by Hinduism. I was influenced by Buddha’s teachings. The principles of truth and nonviolence that Gandhi expounded do not contradict Buddhist teachings. They are the same in both teachings, so I was naturally influenced by Gandhian teachings. More »
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    The Movement With No Name Paid Member

    Could you explain what you mean by the "movement" and why, as you put it, "nobody saw it coming"? "Movement" is simply a placeholder for the one to two million organizations in the world today that address issues of the environment and social justice. No one saw this massing of organizations coming because it didn't start as a top-down, ideological movement with charismatic leaders and a manifesto. More »
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    Tough Lovingkindness Paid Member

      I NEVER intended to teach meditation to kids. A few years back, I received a phone call from a social studies teacher at a New York City high school who was teaching his students about Eastern cultures and religions. He wanted to know if I could visit his classes, talk to the kids about Buddhism, maybe take them through a brief guided meditation. I'm not sure to this day how he found me—perhaps he was scouring the Internet in search of a meditation teacher. I agreed to meet with his classes and headed for the high school, School of the Future, in Manhattan, feeling a certain amount of trepidation. I'd be operating outside my comfort zone, teaching kids.More »
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    The R Word Paid Member

    In our current atmosphere of cultural polarization, the term religion has become highly contested. Just how contested was brought home to me in April 2006, when, during a public lecture I gave at the University of Montana in Missoula, a man in the audience sharply questioned my very use of the word. I said that I was simply following a long history of usage, that I knew that some people contrast spirituality, which they see as good, with religion, which they believe is bad, but that I had never found that dichotomy helpful, as spirituality until recently was always considered an aspect of religion, not a rival to it. But he was adamant. Religion, he insisted, is a terrible thing and if I didn’t want to use the term spirituality, I should think of some new word. Like what? I queried. He had no answer but insisted I come up with one. More »
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    Satyagraha Special Section: Blueprints of Freedom Paid Member

    In Atlanta SCLC office, 1966   FAR FROM THE police dogs, jail cells, and hostile crowds, Martin Luther King, Jr., stands in his office with his arms crossed in front of a portrait of Mohandas Gandhi. The juxtaposition of these two spiritual titans in this photograph reminds me that Gandhi’s “experiment with truth” was at the heart of King’s work for justice and equality. For King as well as Gandhi, the methods of satyagraha, far from being neutral tools devoid of cultural values, contained precise, challenging blueprints for leading a moral life. More »
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    War or Peace? Thinking Outside the Box Paid Member

    Tricycle: How do you view the U.S. government’s military response to the events of September 11? Jan Chozen Bays: I would have preferred a more restrained response. In an ideal world you’d send special forces into Afghanistan in the dead of night, anesthetize the core group of terrorists, put them in padded restraints, provide them with lawyers, and deposit them on the steps of the international court in the Hague. This is an imperfect world, but still I had hopes for a more “surgical” intervention. As a physician I think of terrorism as analogous to cancer. A physician’s job is to go in and surgically remove the cancer to alleviate the immediate cause of suffering. Tricycle: José? More »