International Network of Engaged Buddhists meet in Bodh Gaya
On Mon, 5 December, 2011 - 12:14
Vajrapushpa is Chair of Triratna’s Karuna Trust, which raises over £1.5m/year for social and Dharma projects in India. She’s recently back from India, where she was in Bodh Gaya to attend the annual conference of INEB, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. She reports -
“The theme of the conference was ‘The Future of Buddhism: From Personal Awakening to Global Transformation’. The gathering was rather like a microcosm of the Buddhist world: monks and nuns from the Asian countries, distinguished teachers from the west (eg Roshi Joan Halifax) and the east (Dzongsar Khyentse Rimpoche), social activists, climate change activists, NGO pioneers and professionals, self-style Buddhist teachers and practitioners, young western volunteers from charities, twenty or so Nagaloka students.
The talks and panel discussions in the mornings highlighted a number of issues. For instance: the weaknesses and problems within sanghas – such as a narrow nationalistic focus, formalism, the lay/monk divide; a poor level of Dharma education within some of the Theravada orders; consumerism & obsession with money. Joan Halifax spoke in a very articulate, compelling and heart-felt way about her own practice, the need for all of us to see through the delusions of our own mind and look deeper into the causes of suffering. Alan Senauke, another Zen teacher from the USA and with roots in the 1960’s social and political activism, talked about the need to communicate the radical nature of the Dharma. He has been to Nagaloka, Triratna’s training centre in Nagpur, and is very impressed by it. Points were made about the need for Buddhists (individuals, organisations) to work on all levels from the grassroots to the international. Big questions were asked, such as, ‘can the Dharma be a global force for social change?’
For the rest of Vajrapushpa’s report, please click here.