The expression socially engaged Buddhism was coined by Thich Nhat Hanh
and developed by Sulak Sivaraksa and has become a widely used term
referring to the activism and social work performed by some Buddhists
either indvidually or as a function of their sangha activity. The Amida
sangha has become well known for its commitments in this type of
activity as a co-ordinated and committed sangha at the levels of
resisting oppression, assisting the afflicted and demonstrating an
alternative, in arenas as varied as the Balkans, India, Africa and city
centre areas of the UK. All well and good. However, it goes further
than this. I would like to float and advance the term Culturally
Engaged Buddhism as a relatively more apt description of what we are
trying to do here. I understand cultural engagement as including
everything that might fall under the rubric of SEB and more, and all of
it with a subtle shift of emphasis. Amida-shu is culturally engaged in
that we are not only engaged in socially useful or politically
implicated actions; we are also engaged in the arts and letters and
performance; we are concerned about the kind of values that underpin
society, and especially that conduce to community; we are concerned to
generate the conditions that give rise to creativity; we are interested
in friendship, co-operation and synergism, and in unleashing the energy
of people who have something to offer, helping them to become both true
individuals and contributing members of 'rightly resolute groups'. We
are not just into service delivery - in fact, we are hardly into that
at all - we are more interested in how to help people to become
creative and helping people to help other people. I want to invite our
members to think about how we can generate the kind of matrix of
conditions, both locally and internationally, that nurture creativity
of many kinds and that build the flowering of community at a more
sublime level. This can include supporting social causes but it is not
limited to it and we need to think carefully just what the Buddhist
cause in society is. We should not simply jump onto bandwagons that are
only tangentially related to our true values; but nor should we flinch
from actions that will bring out the potential in a wide range of
people yearning for spiritual liberation in a wide variety of ways, not
limited to orthodoxly religious ones. Amidism is well placed to bridge
cultures and to help generate the meta-culture (and 'metta' culture) by
which the future of our world may be enriched. Let's do it.
Tibetans in Tibet are appealing for help to stop a Chinese company from mining a sacred mountain.
Since May 16th, hundreds of Tibetans have been peacefully blockading the main road leading to Ser Ngul Lo Mountain in Markham County. Tibetans in the region believe mining is poisoning water sources, leading to the deaths of both people and cattle. More than 300 armed security forces have been deployed to the area, and the situation on the ground is reported to be incredibly tense.
Under Chinese occupation, Tibetans are routinely denied the right to determine the use of their own land and resources. Any Tibetan who dares to oppose mining operations is at great risk of arrest, imprisonment, and even torture.
Help protect Tibetans in Markham and their sacred mountain. Let the Chinese government know the world is watching.
On April 8th, China sentenced two Tibetans, Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak, to death for their alleged involvement in last year's protests in Lhasa. Two others, Phuntsok and Kangtsuk, were also sentenced to death but with a two year reprieve, and Dawa Sangpo was sentenced to life imprisonment.
These harsh sentences signal an alarming escalation in the Chinese government's campaign to punish and intimidate Tibetans who dare to speak out against Chinese rule.
If you agree that such punishments are harsh and unjustified please take action.
On the occasion of the visit of G20 Leaders for their London Summit on 2
April, the Network of Buddhist Organisations and the British Humanist
Association have issued the joint statement below. Largely based on a similar
statement organised by Archbishop Rowan Williams, it demonstrates, in the words
of Hanne Stinson, BHA's Chief Executive, 'that you do not have to believe in a
god to share the same concerns'.
"We acknowledge the severity of the current economic crisis and the
sheer complexity of the global and local challenge faced by political leaders.
They, and we, have a crucial role to play in recovering that lost sense of
balance between the requirements of market mechanisms that help deliver
increased prosperity, and the moral requirement to safeguard human dignity,
regardless of economic or social category.
"Many people are suffering as
a result of the economic crisis. The World Bank estimates that 53 million more
people could fall into absolute poverty as a result of the crisis. The
likelihood is that more will face significant hardship before it comes to an
end, and those who are already poor sufferthe most. Along with the leaders of
the G20 we all have a duty to look at the faces of the poor around the world and
to act with justice, to think with compassion, and to look with hope to a
sustainable vision of the future.
"We wish therefore to draw attention to
some of the promises made by the international community in recent times - with
our wholehearted support - that risk being postponed by the pressing concern to
rectify market failures. We need to be properly conscious that all
communities include, and must pay special attention to the needs of, poor,
marginalised and vulnerable people. To forget their needs would be to
compound regrettable past failures with needless future injustices.
- Kalon Tripa says Tibetans ready to talk
- Three foreigners detained in Kathmandu
- Bomb blast in Kardze
- Monks taken for ‘study' after peaceful protest
- Karmapa gives rare interview
- Luxury train to Lhasa postponed
- China arrests a Tibetan civil servant
- China approves "modern redesign" of Lhasa
- Nun stages protest march in Kardze
- Fear of more HIV infections
- Youths and monks held for marking uprising anniversary
- Arrests over farming boycott
- Tibetan writer arrested
- Danish PM hopes to meet Dalai Lama in May
- Chinese bank lends to mines in Tibet
- Ragya monastery encircled and under severe restriction
- Tibet re-opens to foreign tourists from April
- Tibetan writer-photographer arrested in Gansu Province
- Nuns arrested in Kardze
- China block footage of Tibet violence on YouTube
- Peace conference "postponed" after Dalai Lama refused visa
There is no conclusive evidence of Chinese government involvement
An electronic spy network, based
mainly in China, has infiltrated computers from government offices
around the world, Canadian researchers say.
They said the network had infiltrated 1,295 computers in 103 countries.
included computers belonging to foreign ministries and embassies and
those linked with the Dalai Lama - Tibet's spiritual leader.
Researchers say they have no conclusive evidence China's government was behind, Beijing has also denied involvement.
from the Information Warfare Monitor (IWM) were acting on a request
from the Tibetan spiritual leader's office to check whether the
computers of his Tibetan exile network had been infiltrated.
report comes at the end of a 10-month investigation by IWM, which
comprises researchers from Ottawa-based think tank SecDev Group and the
University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies.
researchers said hackers were apparently able to take control of
computers belonging to several foreign ministries and embassies across
the world using malicious software, or malware.
We the undersigned Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, human rights leaders
and concerned individuals wish to express our concern at the current
deterioration of the human rights situation in Tibet, and the apparent
breakdown of the talks between the Chinese government and emissaries of
His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We are dismayed at the lack of any
concrete progress toward resolving the conflict over the autonomy and
religious freedom of the Tibetan people, and urge all parties involved
to redouble their effort to achieve this vital goal.
I'm a Minister with Amida Shu, a Pureland Buddhist Order. Now semi-retired, I teach on-line and hold Pureland Buddhist sangha gatherings in Perth, Scotland. This site is mainly Buddhist in content. I share the teachings of the Head of our Order, Dharmavidya David Brazier