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Quote of the Week: Bhikkhu Bodhi

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Today’s quote is hot off the digital press. I just received an email today from Bhikkhu Bodhi, founder of Buddhist Global Relief as well as the translator of numerous classic Buddhist texts. You can read the full text of his email here.

Here are the words from Bhikkhu Bodhi:

Three principles of personal and social integrity are especially imperiled today, principles that underlie three of the Buddhist precepts: refraining from violence, theft, and false speech. As followers of the Dharma, we need to promote them as guidelines for social policy as well as exemplify them in our own conduct. To insist on their social expression is not a matter of playing politics but of acting responsibly as human beings; for if they should be subverted, civilization as we know it will regress and may even collapse.

The first principle is non-violence or non-injury. Just as a nation or society can flourish only when its members avoid harming one another, so the world community can flourish only when nations abide by international conventions curbing war and aggression. An especially critical aspect of collective non-violence is making a swift transition to renewable sources of energy, a crying need if we are to prevent runaway climate change from ravaging the biosphere and decimating helpless communities on the planet.

The second principle is social justice, which stipulates that all people possess inalienable human rights regardless of their race, class, gender, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. Social justice also entails economic justice, a pillar of societal health that is being aggressively overturned. Economic justice entails equitable incomes and safe work conditions. It entails adequate housing, access to healthy food, affordable medical care, and security in illness and old age.

The third principle is commitment to truth. Truth is the guardian of the first two principles, which in troubled times makes it especially vulnerable to attack by those bent on distortion and disinformation. In certain circles it has become an axiom that if one repeats a lie often enough it becomes truth. The limits of this axiom are constantly being pushed, creating ever thicker screens of deception to promote militarism and the assault on social justice.

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.

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  1. Pingback: The Jizo Chronicles Switchboard « The Jizo Chronicles

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