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Field Guide to Socially Engaged Buddhsim

Field Guide to Socially Engaged Buddhsim

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Published by Low Beng Kiat

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Published by: Low Beng Kiat on Sep 17, 2012
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Seattle University
A Field Guide to Socially EngagedBuddhism
Mary Pauline
Dr. Sharon
27 May, 2012
The writers would like to extend their thanks to the following people and institutions whohelped make this document possible: Rachel Moriah Fiala, Dr. Jason Wirth, Michael Melan-con, Bonnie Duran, Tuere Sala of the People of Color and Allies Sangha, Michele Benzamin-Miki, Mushim Ikeda and Marlena Willis of the East Bay Meditation Center, Rev. GenkoKathy Blackman of Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Temple, Reverend Don Castro, Susie Taketa,Julianne Tosaya, Ajahn Tom and Santi Karo of the Atammayatarama Buddhist Monastery,and Professor Sharon Suh for her guidance and ceaseless encouragement.1
Preface & Acknowledgements
The impetus for this
Field Guide to Socially Engaged Buddhism 
emerges from my long stand-ing commitment to explore and examine the concrete ways that Buddhists throughout timeand place have engaged in, with, and through this very world to transform suffering. As acultural critic of Buddhism deeply committed to social justice, I believe that my studentsshould learn to deconstruct the many popularized and exoticized images of Buddhism in theWest that have and continue to produce stereotypical images of monks meditating upon loftymountaintops with little interaction with the social world. Hence, students are encouraged toprovide robust critique and analysis of such narrowly held and inaccurate depictions of Bud-dhism that are perpetuated in contemporary media with the explicit purpose of groundingBuddhism in the here and now.THRS 491 Engaged Buddhist Movements is a senior synthesis course that requires stu-dents to engage in a critical examination of the integral relationship between Buddhism andsocial justice movements. In this course, students analyze the ethical dimensions of Buddhistphilosophy and practice that support and compel deep engagement in and commitment totransformation for the common good. In so doing, this course which culminates in this
Field Guide to Socially Engaged Buddhism 
interrogates the relationship between the personal andsocial manifestations of Buddhist thought and practice and investigates the roles Buddhistthinkers, organizations, and institutions have played in social justice movements.You will find in this
Field Guide to Socially Engaged Buddhism 
that students demon-strate a sophisticated understanding of Socially Engaged Buddhism’s origins through re-search projects, individual and group presentations, and written responses. They demon-strate in depth understanding of the historical, philosophical, social, and ethical implicationsof Buddhist theories of no-self, interdependence, suffering, and liberation. They have alsoworked on individual research projects that they then incorporated into a collaborative
Field Guide to Socially Engaged Buddhism 
organized and designed by their own efforts. Keep inmind that this
Field Guide to Socially Engaged Buddhism 
is the result of only nine weeksof study. Such a final product is a great accomplishment especially since for many of theco-authors, this course was their first introduction to Buddhism. It is amazing to me howmuch the co-authors accomplished in such a short period of time.
First and foremost I want to thank all the seniors taking this course. Each of them hasbrought to this class a unique perspective, intellectual curiosity, and graciousness that havemade teaching this course a great joy and something that I looked forward to each Tuesdayand Thursday morning. All eleven students took the leap into the unknown by taking thiscourse which is the first of its kind at Seattle University. Because students were expectedto design a
Field Guide to Socially Engaged Buddhism 
that they would not have to onlyresearch, write and organize but also present, it is fair to say that they had their work cutout for them. They have done a marvelous job distilling the key arguments found in SociallyEngaged Buddhism and have come to this course with open minds and hearts. I am gratefulfor the opportunity work with such receptive, generous, and intelligent students who havecontributed to the creation of such an enjoyable community. I appreciate the humor and2

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