Activism and Shin Buddhism
- Hello, everyone!
Coming from an activist's perspective, I feel that Shin Buddhism has
much to offer. Even though not all Shin Buddhists would be
comfortable calling themselves activists, I find that the essence pf
wisdom and compassion calls for us do what we can to help alleviate
suffering in the world--indeed, that seems to me to be the essence
of the primal vow. I have spent a number of years involved in
political and cultural movements, especially those related to civil
rights, labor and correspondence with prisoners. I don't expect my
sangha to wholeheartedly support these activities as a group, but I
have also found a great deal of respect for my position as well. I
would also offer that activitism can take many forms--I wonder
myself if what looks like activism from a mainstream American
perspective may take a different form with someone from a cultural
background that is Japanese or other-than-mine. Just a thought.
Engaged Buddhism is a concept that has vitality accross many
Buddhist systems of thought. The Dalai Lama actually had some very
postive things to say about the ideas brought forth by communism,
despite the horrors that he experienced. The focus of the folks in
the Buddhist Peace Fellowship is the role of buddhists, and
buddhism, in the world. Even with these groups you'll find people
who interpret their buddhist role in the world differently--some are
more politically oriented than others, but all seem open to the
world of buddhism in the world.
You might be interested in the website of the Amida Trust, an
incredible group of socially engaged Pure Land Buddhists in
England. Their website is located at www.amidatrust.com. I have
learned alot from the HUGE amount of information available there.
The trust is a encumenical Pure Land group--you can find information
on pure land traditions of all kinds there, and all from a socially-
I would agree with an earlier post that Jodo Shinshu is a radically
democratic proposition by nature. I love what I know so far.
Ft. Collins, CO