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Looking Back at the Year in Socially Engaged Buddhism

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Buddhist monks praying for peace in Thailand, May 2010

This is the full first year that The Jizo Chronicles has been up and running, so it’s a good time to look back at what’s been going on in the world of socially engaged Buddhism in 2010. (To get an idea of what’s ahead for 2011, look at the Calendar of Events that we maintain here.)

It’s been quite a year, actually.

  • This was the year we lost Robert Aitken Roshi, fierce and dear Zen teacher, founder of the Diamond Sangha, and co-founder of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.
  • Mindfulness and meditation continue to find applications in all kinds of interesting realms, from technology (like the first-ever Wisdom 2.0 conference) and education. 84,000 dharma doors indeed.

In my own life, I continue to be blessed with being in such a close relationship with Roshi Joan Halifax and Upaya Zen Center, and Upaya’s chaplaincy program. I don’t have to go more than a few dozen steps from my front door to be able to sit in the beautiful zendo there, and to hear teachings from  Joanna Macy, Fleet Maull, Ouyporn Khuankaew, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Sharon Salzberg, Kaz Tanahashi, Norman Fischer, and Father John Dear (all visited Upaya this past year). I’ve also appreciated my long-distance dharma relationship with Shosan Victoria Austin of the San Francisco Zen Center and the sangha there.

My practice continues to deepen and I am ever more aware of the subtle power of the dharma to transform suffering into joy. As the old year comes to a close and the new one begins, I wish you and your loved ones great peace, great equanimity, and great compassion.

I’m sure I missed a lot in the above recounting. Please let me know your experience and memories of engaged dharma practice this past year… leave a comment below.


If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to visit my other website: The Liberated Life Project — a personal transformation blog with a social conscience.

About Maia

I've been practicing and studying the Buddha way since 1994, and exploring the question "What is engaged Buddhism?" since the late 90s. As former executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and editor of its journal, Turning Wheel, I had the honor of meeting and working with many practitioners of engaged dharma, including Roshi Joan Halifax, Joanna Macy, Alan Senauke, and Robert Aitken Roshi. I write about socially engaged Buddhism on my blog, "The Jizo Chronicles," as well as on the theme of personal and collective freedom on my website, "The Liberated Life Project." Through my Five Directions Consulting, I offer support to individuals and organizations who aspire to integrate awareness into their work.

4 responses »

  1. That’s a good list, and I’m sure there’s plenty more that could be added. One thing you overlooked was the activism on behalf of gays by Hompa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, the oldest Buddhist institution in America. They’re Jodo Shinshu (Pure Land Buddhism), which has been a consistent advocate for gay rights in Hawaii and the mainland for many decades now. Here are links to two parts of this story about Shin Buddhism and gay marriage:

    Click to access HHMHSame-GenderResolution.pdf

  2. Pingback: 2011: The Year in Engaged Buddhism « The Jizo Chronicles

  3. Pingback: 2011: The Year in Engaged Buddhism | Zen Peacemakers

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