Social Justice

Buddhism teaches that we are noble by our actions, not by birth or circumstance
  • The Attack at Home Paid Member

    While the attention of the country has been riveted on President Obama’s proposals to launch missile strikes in Syria, hidden in the shadows, the House of Representatives has been busily preparing an attack of its own. This attack will not be directed against a foreign government accused of massacring innocent civilians with chemical weapons. Rather, it will be launched right here at home, and its targets are our fellow citizens, whose crime is simply being poor and dependent on federal assistance in order to eat and feed their families. More »
  • The (Justifiably) Angry Marxist Paid Member

    In April 2006, the Japanese cultural anthropologist Noriyuki Ueda met the Dalai Lama for two days of conversation in Dharmasala, India. The discussion, recently translated from the Japanese text, covers such topics as the usefulness of anger, the role of compassion in society, and social and economic justice. "I believe that Buddhism has a big role to play in the world today," Ueda tells His Holiness, "and I am impatient because Buddhists don't seem to realize that." In this interview, Ueda offers us a rare peek into the the political and economic mind of one of the world's most famous spiritual leaders. More »
  • Wrong Mindfulness Paid Member

    Hozan Alan Senauke is a Soto Zen priest, activist, and the former director of Buddhist Peace Fellowship. He is an advisor to the International Network of Engaged Buddhists and founder of the Clear View Project, which focuses on social change and relief efforts in Asia. He also happens to be an accomplished folk musician. In March, Radio host John Malkin interviewed Senauke on his show “The Great Leap Forward” on Free Radio Santa Cruz. The two spoke about the confluence of Buddhism and social justice, Buddhist Anarchism, and where Engaged Buddhism stands today.   More »
  • Racism with a Smile Paid Member

    The current media vogue is to construe racism as something neo-Nazis, skinheads, or other marginal bigots do. This absolves the rest of us from taking responsibility not just for individual acts of discrimination and bias on a daily basis, but also for the ways in which white supremacy reinforces and guarantees white skin privilege. Racism in the US is not primarily about individual acts of ill will. One can be benign, neutral, open, accepting, and friendly to people of color and still be participating in the perpetuation of racism in this country merely by not actively working against racial hierarchies. More »
  • A Moral Politics Paid Member

    For months members of the House of Representatives wrangled over how much in cuts they would make to the nation’s food stamps program in the new Farm Bill they were drafting. On July 11th, by a vote of 216 to 208, the House finally passed a bill, and guess what? The bill does not include any funding for food stamps. Opposition to the bill was strong—all Democrats joined by twelve Republicans voted against it—but the majority prevailed, reflecting the agenda of Tea Party ideologues and conservative deficit hawks who dominate in the House. More »
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    Buddhist Nationalism in Burma Paid Member

    For those outside Burma, the broadcast images of the Theravada monks of the “Saffron Revolution” of 2007 are still fresh. Backed by the devout Buddhist population, these monks were seen chanting metta and the Lovingkindness Sutta on the streets of Rangoon, Mandalay, and Pakhoke-ku, calling for an improvement in public well-being in the face of the growing economic hardships afflicting Burma’s Buddhists. The barefooted monks’ brave protests against the rule of the country’s junta represented a fine example of engaged Buddhism, a version of Buddhist activism that resonates with the age-old Orientalist, decontextualized view of what Buddhists are like: lovable, smiley, hospitable people who lead their lives mindfully and have much to offer the non-Buddhist world in the ways of fostering peace. More »