An American Buddhist monk, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi is both a scholar and a truly engaged Buddhist. Perhaps best known for translations of the Pali Canon (one of my favorite books is his anthology In the Buddha’s Words published by Wisdom), he has been issuing a call to action to Buddhists around the world over the last few years.
In 2007, Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote an essay for Buddhadharma magazine titled “A Challenge to Buddhists,” in which he took American Buddhism to task for being excessively inwardly-focused. Not long after that, he and a group of his students and friends founded Buddhist Global Relief to provide aid to the poor and needy around the world. This is one monk who walks his talk.
This quote comes from an essay in BGR’s Spring 2010 “Helping Hands” newsletter:
Buddhism offers us two complementary perspectives to guide us in our engagement with the world. One pertains to our way of understanding things; the other pertains to our relationship with living beings. These two perspectives are respectively the wisdom of selflessness and universal compassion. Though distinct, the two are closely bound together, mutually embracing and reinforcing. In their integral unity they provide the most effective remedy to the contemporary crisis brought about by blind self-interest and the threat it poses to our planet’s fragile eco-system, economic security, and equitable relations among people and nations.