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Int’l Network of Engaged Buddhists Statement on Thailand

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The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) has just issued a statement on the situation in Thailand. Here it is:


All Lives are Sacred: A plea to put an end to massive killing in Bangkok

International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB)

Since the beginning of the demonstration by the United front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), aka “Red Shirts”, on 12 March 2010, there have been many hundreds of casualties. In the past five days, attempts to disperse the demonstration in Ratchaprasong have become been violent, with a further effect of provoking violence. The government’s actions have so far failed to deter the demonstrators.

The present clash of political views is one of the great crises in Siam’s modern history. The country was previously acclaimed for settling conflict peacefully and democratically. Now it appears that both sides, the government and the UDD, are clinging to an illusion of victory over another.  The entire nation is hostage to their conflict. Buddhist wisdom is relevant for those absorbed in hatred, greed and delusion. The Dhammapada, Verse 201 says:

Victory breeds hatred, for the conquered is unhappy.
Persons who have given up both victory and defeat, the contented, they are happy.

The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), representing a diversity of socially engaged buddhists from around the world, is gravely concerned about this standoff. We wish for all parties address the conflict with reason and tools of peace, to recognize the ancient Buddhist wisdom that neither the so-called winner nor loser will be contented and happy. We encourage those who do not fall into one of the two camps can help this process wherever possible.  Only through peaceful negotiation and dialogue can all parties concerned return the country to its true nature as a flourishing democracy and a peace-loving nation.

Our heartfelt plea is for both parties to stop any act that may cost lives and injuries;  to reclaim the time-tested wisdom of reconciliation and nonviolence.

Whenever INEB can help bridge the gap between the opposed parties we are willing to do all that we can.

We trust that in the light of upcoming international Vesakh celebrations in Thailand, supported by the United Nations 22-26 May 2010 and the subsequent local Vesakh celebrations, commemorating the birth, enlightenment and the passing away of the Lord Buddha, all parties will unite in taking responsibility for their conduct and for bringing about lasting peace, transformation towards social justice and shared wellbeing for future generations.

To close, in Verse 5 of the Dhammapada the Buddha proclaims:

Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By love alone is hatred appeased. This is an eternal law.

International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB)

Patron, Advisory Committee and Executive Committee Name Lists


His Holiness the Dalai Lama                       Tibet

Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh                       France/Vietnam

Venerable Phra Rajpanyamedhi                   Siam (Thailand)

Venerable Bhikshuni Chao Hwei                 Taiwan


Name Organisation Country
Sulak Sivaraksa

(Founder Chair)

Santi Pracha Dhamma Institute

Raja Dharmapala Dharmavedi Institute Sri Lanka
Jill Jameson Buddhist Peace Fellowship Australia Australia
Dharmachari Lokamitra Jambudvipa Trust

Ven. Tsering Palmo Ladakh Nuns Association Ladakh/India
Phra Maha Boonchuay Mahachulalongkorn University

Phra Phaisan Visalo Buddhika Network for Buddhism and Society

Bhikkhuni Dhammananda Songdhammakalyani Monastery Siam
Venetia Walkey Dhamma Park Foundation

Ven. Pomnyun Sunim Jungto Society

South Korea
Rev. Alan Senauke Clear View Project

Ven. Sumanalankar Parbatya Bouddha Mission

Hisashi Nakamura Ryukoku University

Rev. Masazumi Okano International Buddhist Exchange Center Japan
Swee-hin Toh University for Peace

Costa Rica
Frans Goetghebeur European Buddhist Union



Name Organisation Country
Harsha Navaratne (Chairperson) Sewalanka Foundation

Sri Lanka
Hans van Willenswaard

(Vice Chairperson)

GNH Program



Somboon Chungprempree (Interim Executive Secretary) Spirit in Education Movement (SEM) Siam
Douangdeuane Bounyavong Buddhists for Development

Hsiang-chou Yo Fo Guang University

Jonathan Watts Think Sangha USA/Japan
Anchalee Kurutach Buddhist Peace Fellowship

Poolchawee Ruangwichatorn Spirit in Education Movement (SEM) Siam
Pipob Udomittipong Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation (SNF) Siam
Ros Sotha Buddhists and Khmer Society Network

Mangesh Dahiwale Jambudvipa Trust

Prashant Varma Deer Park Institute

Erica Kang Jungto Society

South Korea
Minyong Lee South Korea

Matteo Pistono Nekorpa and RIGPA Fellowship USA
Tashi Zangmo Bhutan
Vidyananda (KV Soon) Malaysia
Harn Burma/Myanmar

INEB Report from Alan Senauke

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Alan Senauke, third from the right

My friend Hozan Alan Senauke has just posted a good report on the International Network of Engaged Buddhists conference that took place in Chiangmai, Thailand, last week. Alan and I were colleagues at the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and I admire his dedicated work to support the people of Burma through The Clearview Project.

An excerpt from the report:

I am grateful to the conference organizers for several opportunities I was given to present and share ideas.  At the conference plenary, Ven. Dhammananda, the formidable Thai bhikkhuni, and I spoke about our experience and vision of engaged Buddhist community and organization. I helped my old friend Ouyporn Khuankaew explore issues of gender. On the last day I took part in an interfaith panel —Buddhist, Christian, Muslim — looking at spiritual practices that support our respective social action.

INEB photo

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This photo comes by way of my friend, Tempel Smith, who is at the International Network of Engaged Buddhists meeting/festival in Chiangmai, Thailand. Tempel is the founder of a wonderful organization, MAYA, which stands for Mindful Awareness for Young Adults.

Quote of the Week: Sulak Sivaraksa

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Since I mentioned INEB in the previous post, here’s a quote from Thai activist Sulak Sivaraksa to end the day (by my clock, it’s 9:50 pm on Nov 12; somehow my WordPress time setting is different because it’s telling you I posted this on Nov 13).

Sulak founded INEB in 1989, and is the author of many articles and books including Loyalty Demands Dissent and Seeds of Peace: A Buddhist Vision for Renewing Society.

“Buddhism is not concerned just with private destiny, but with the lives and consciousness of all beings…Any attempt to understand Buddhism apart from its social dimension is fundamentally a mistake. Until Western Buddhists understand this, their embrace of Buddhism will not help very much in the efforts to bring about meaningful and positive social change, or even in their struggle to transform their ego.”

~ Sulak Sivaraksa

Engaged Buddhist Festival in Thailand

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The Engaged Buddhist Festival of Peace and Transformation, organized by the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), is going on right now in ChiangMai, Thailand. This year marks INEB’s 20th anniversary so it should be quite an event. The conference ends on November 17th with a Peace Walk through the city.

Two people I know are attending — Anchalee Kurutach and Hozan Alan Senauke. I’m hoping to be able to share some of their missives from the meeting on this blog…stay tuned.

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