Debatably, there are various social problems in the world today. Hence, Buddhists have opted to be part of the solutions in one way or another. Socially Engaged Buddhism refers to an active involvement by those who follow Buddhism religion in problems and society. As a matter of fact, those who are involved in the movement live with a lot of compassion. The problems and societal issues that the participants involve themselves in include environmental, social, economic, as well as political. Based on Buddhism, those involved engage actively on Buddhists spirituality, ideas, and values. Hence, socially engaged Buddhism is asserted to be a reflection on undertaking a social action in a spiritual form, which is expressed in actions of grassroots empowerment, nonviolence, compassion, and nonjudgmentalism.
The Buddha’s dharma has been handed over from one generation to another just like any other social tradition. In fact, the Buddha’s dharma is primarily characterized by a sense of universality. For example, the values that surround Buddhist cores have been instrumental in ensuring that social harmony and solidarity is promoted in the entire globe. These virtues include equality, compassion, kindness and humanity. In many occasion, socially engaged Buddhism emphasizes on cause of human suffering, as well as its solutions. In fact, it is believed that the spiritual force makes them find a solution to global problems (Fisher, 2010).
In the contemporary society, scholars assert that there is an emerging trend among Buddhists, which make them Socially Engaged Buddhism. Socially Engaged Buddhism focuses on leadership in the world. For example, Buddhists have organized various leadership courses meant to involve the youth in society. The course emphasizes on issues such as reconciliation and peace, meditation, alternative development, community building, as well as women issues and empowerment. From these practices, Buddhism is becoming a solution to several world problems. Leaders and teachers in the sets and Asian region have articulated and embodied socially engaged Buddhism. Some of these personalities include the Dalai Lama, Joanna Macy, and Thich Nhat Hanh
Socially engaged Buddhism practice asserts that the libration of other people and liberation of ourselves cannot be separated. This implies that the transformation that takes place in ourselves must be transferred to transform the entire society. The roots of Socially Engaged Buddhism are based on the Buddha teachings, which focus on social issues in society (Fisher, 2010). Perhaps, its practices are grounded in innovative and traditional form in connection to social justice. In order to adhere to socially engaged Buddhism, there are guiding principles these include mindfulness, establishing safety condition, setting intentions, clarifying motivation, opening to compassion, pain and suffering, transforming anger, as well as undertaking co-responsibility.
There are various divisions of socially engaged Buddhism practice in the globe today. For example, the main form of engaging socially is focusing of personal growth and spiritual cultivation. This is believed to be the driving force of all other beneficial changes in society. Additionally, interpersonal relationship and communication play tremendous role in developing interaction among individuals in society (Fisher, 2010). For example, this drives individuals to socialize in the workplace, with friends, neighbors, family members, , and co-workers.
The involvement of the social problems in the world is also manifested through participation of community work. In this case, Socially Engaged Buddhism cultivates and develops a spiritual sense of dedicating individual energy to serving the public through employment and volunteer activities. For example, individuals use their talents, skills and experience to impact the world positively through the provision of solutions to existing problems.
Conclusively, Socially Engaged Buddhism has become a practical phenomenon in the West and the East, despite its critics. In fact, it bears tremendous historical significance that traces Buddhism to engagement on political, social, environmental, and political issues of the society. Hence, those involved continue to look for ways to eliminate human sufferings and provide the solution to social problems. It is a dharma practice, which has elaborated on the interdependence and complications of life.
Fisher, M. (2010). Living Religions (8th Edition). London: Prentice Hall