Social Justice

Buddhism teaches that we are noble by our actions, not by birth or circumstance
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    She's Got the Beat Paid Member

      There’s a story Cheri Maples tells about the first time she saw her Buddhist practice in action. The year was 1991, and Maples, then a patrol cop on the Madison, Wisconsin police force, was responding to a domestic violence call. A divorced dad was holding his young daughter hostage, refusing to hand her over to his ex-wife after a weekend visit. When Maples interceded, he threatened her. Ordinarily, she would have slapped handcuffs on the guy and hauled him off to jail. But she had just sat her first retreat with the Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, and the experience “had broken open my heart,” Maples says. She persuaded the father to release his daughter and then, instead of arresting him, spoke to him from her heart. Within minutes, he was in tears. More »
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    Silence in the Pagoda Paid Member

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    The Likably Unlikely Monk Paid Member

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    Bernie Glassman's Excellent Adventure Paid Member

    Roshi Bernie Glassman celebrated his 70th birthday in January with three days of public reflection on his 50-year encounter with Zen. But even as he put a coda on five decades of Buddhist practice, America’s best-known—and arguably best-loved—Zen master showed no signs of slowing down. In fact, the irrepressible social entrepreneur, who wrote the book on socially engaged Buddhism in the West—actually, three books—has dreamed up yet another venture: something he calls Zen Houses, residential dharma centers devoted to Zen practice and social service in impoverished areas. The first two houses are opening this spring. More »
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    Why Buddhism Needs the West Paid Member

    In an oft-cited statement, which might be apocryphal, the British historian Arnold Toynbee said, “The coming of Buddhism to the West may well prove to be the most important event of the twentieth century.” Given the monumental social, political, and scientific changes of the last century, that claim seems pretty unlikely. But Toynbee may have noticed something the rest of us need to see: that the interaction between Buddhism and the West is crucial today, because each emphasizes something the other is missing. Whether or not Toynbee actually made this observation, the significance of the encounter may be nearly as great as his statement suggests. More »
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    Procession of Peace Paid Member

    Photography by FRED LEBLANCMore »