SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT

Creating a culture of awakening

In western countries, many of those who practice meditation view Buddhism as a way to achieve greater freedom from their suffering. As practitioners who hold a secular approach, however, we also recognize the centrality of contributing to what Stephen Batchelor calls a ‘culture of awakening’, a world in which all beings can flourish.


On this page you will find recommended reading to introduce and explore the subject, as well as articles written by a number of leading writers that will help you to dig a little deeper.

RECOMMENDED READING

Engaged Buddhists need radical social theory 

We need both the Buddha’s insights on the human condition and a non-deterministic, humanistic Marxism to create a ‘culture of awakening’ and just society in which all human beings have the opportunity to flourish. As each perspective has strengths and weaknesses, we need to bring these perspectives together in a complementary, mutually enriching way.

By Mike Slott


How to be an ecosattva 

Acknowledging the importance of social engagement is a big step for many Buddhists, since we have usually been taught to focus on what is happening in our own minds. On the other side, those committed to social action tend to suffer from frustration, anger, and burnout. The engaged bodhisattva path provides what each needs because it involves a double practice, inner and outer, each reinforcing the other.

By David Loy


Dharma practice and solidarity in troubling times 

According to Winton Higgins, the foundation of Buddhists’ political engagement is the overarching ethical commitment to care, the responsibility to be ‘engaged as a moral agent in what is going on in one’s own life’.

By Winton Higgins


Should secular Buddhists be socially-engaged Buddhists? 

Mike Slott explains why secular Buddhists should be socially engaged, from service work with individuals to participation in radical political movements.

By Mike Slott


A secular Buddhist perspective on dharmic citizenship 

Winton Higgins urges secular Buddhists to be active citizens and contribute to social and political change. Given the crises facing our society, ‘nowadays politics matters like never before!’

By Winton Higgins


MORE ON SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT

Three paths for secular Buddhists – crucial conversations and movements

By Mike Slott


The politics of decency vs markets and overweening private interests

By Winton Higgins


Taking a second look at Radical Dharma through the lens of social class

By Mike Slott


Review of Rhonda V. Magee’s ‘The Inner Work of Racial Justice’

By Mike Slott


Interview with Winton Higgins on The Mindful Cranks podcast

By SBN Editor


The power to be radical, and vulnerable: a conversation with Lama Rod Owens

By Bernat Font


Bhikkhu Bodhi on traditional versus secular Buddhism

By Bhikkhu Bodhi


Core elements of a secular and socially-engaged Buddhism

By Mike Slott