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TOWARD A BUDDHIST SOCIAL ETHICS: THE CASE OF THAILAND

by Tavivat Puntarigvivat*

Buddhism is often criticized as a religion that, being mainly concerned with personal salvation, lacks a social ethics. Although this may seem to be true, Buddhist teachings on personal conduct do contain principles that could be reinterpreted and extended to a social ethical theory. Thailand offers a good framework in which to approach Buddhist social ethics, for it provides an opportunity to examine socio-political issues under the global market economy at a structural level and from a Third World point of view.

 

"Engaged Buddhism in India and Role of Theravada Buddhism: Perspectives and Prospects

By Dr Siddharth Singh

Associate Professor, Head of Department of Pali & Buddhist Studies Banaras Hindu University, India

Engaged Buddhism, as a specific term, was originally coined by noted Vietnamese Zen teacher Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh. As we know, during the Vietnam War when he and his Dhamma friends were engrossed in their meditative practices and surrounding society was afflicted with the sufferings of the war, the question arose in their mind regarding the objective of their religious life. They thought that when the other part of the society is enveloped with fear, pain and suffering so would it be appropriate for them to confine themselves to their spiritual practices, hiding from the external world? They decided to expand the field of their actions. As an ideal monk to do the spiritual practices so that they could understand the grief and agony of others, and on the other hand, to go out of their Viharas to offer their services to the common people of the society and they gave this way of life a new Chinese term, translated as Engaged Buddhism into English, although not considered to be very accurate translation.

Setting up of this website was sponsored by SJ Mets Consultants PTY Ltd of Perth, Australia in memory of J.H.A. Gunadasa & S.T. Jayasinghe, beloved fathers of Sunil and Aruni.
May they attain Nibbana