Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia

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Christopher S. Queen, Sallie B. King
SUNY Press, 1996 - Religion - 446 pages
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This is the first comprehensive study of socially and politically engaged Buddhism in the lands of its origin. Nine accounts of contemporary movements in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Japan are framed by interpretive essays. The historical development and institutional forms of engaged Buddhism are considered in the light of traditional Buddhist conceptions of morality, interdependence, and liberation; and Western ideas of freedom, human rights, and democracy.

Since the fiery self-immolation of the Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc on a Saigon street in 1963, "engaged Buddhism" has spread throughout Asia and the West. Twice in recent years the Nobel Prize for peace was awarded to Buddhists for their efforts to free their compatriots from totalitarian regimes.

Engaged Buddhism presents ordained and lay Buddhist activists like Thich Nhat Hanh of Vietnam, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and Sulak Sivaraksa of Thailand, A. T. Ariyaratne and the Sarvodaya Shramadana movement of Sri Lanka, Daisaku Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai movement of Japan, followers of the Indian Untouchable leader, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, and Buddhist women throughout Asia. These leaders have campaigned relentlessly, attracted and organized millions of new converts, faced death threats, landed in jail, founded schools and universities, and produced a massive new Buddhist literature to restore social and economic justice to their societies.

 

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Contents

Introduction The Shapes and Sources of Engaged Buddhism
1
Dr Ambedkar and the Hermeneutics of Buddhist Liberation
45
TBMSG A Dhamma Revolution in Contemporary India
73
AT Ariyaratne and the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement in Sri Lanka
121
Buddhadasa Bhikkhu Life and Society through the Natural Eyes of Voidness
147
Sulak Sivaraksas Buddhist Vision for Renewing Society
195
Engaged Buddhist Leaders
237
Buddhist Liberation Movement Activities
247
Buddhist Women and the Nuns Order in Asia
259
Buddhist Principles in the Tibetan Liberation Movement
295
Thich Nhat Hanh and the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam Nondualism in Action
321
The Soka Gakkai Buddhism and the Creation of a Harmonious and Peaceful Society
365
Conclusion Buddhist Social Activism
401
Contributors
437
Index
439
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About the author (1996)

Christopher S. Queen is Dean of Students and Lecturer on Religion in the Division of Continuing Education at Harvard University.

Sallie B. King is Head of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at James Madison University. She is the author of Buddha Nature and Journey in Search of the Way, both published by SUNY Press.

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