A few days ago, I enjoyed a beautiful walk along the San Francisco Bay with Alan, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Katie Loncke, and Kim and Sylvie of Buddhist Global Relief. Together, we spanned three generations of engaged Buddhism, and the conversation on our walk ranged from dharma questions for Bhikkhu Bodhi (who has translated many classic Buddhist texts) to debating the utility and futility of electoral politics.
Alan gifted me with his new book, The Bodhisattva’s Embrace: Dispatches from Engaged Buddhism’s Front Lines. I’ve been reading the book and deeply appreciating how much Alan has contributed to all of us over his many years of practice and service. It’s a beautiful book and I highly recommend it.
This excerpt comes from the book’s introduction:
It is hard to define engaged Buddhism. But I think it has to do with a willingness to see how deeply people suffer; to understand how we have fashioned whole systems of suffering out of gender, race, caste, class, ability, and so on; and to know that interdependently and individually we co-create this suffering. Looking around we plainly see a world at war, a planet in peril.
Some days, I call this engaged Buddhism; on other days I think it is just plain Buddhism — walking the Bodhisattva path, embracing the suffering of beings by taking responsibility for them. In almost every religious tradition there [are] similar ways and practices integrating faith and activism. Across religions and nations we are each others’ sisters and brothers and allies. Our effort is to be more truly human.