Just as the great ocean has one taste, the taste of salt, so also this Dhamma and Discipline of mine has one taste, the taste of liberation.
The Buddha (Udana, v.5)
Liberation for Buddhism is both internal and external. Internally, we seek to free ourselves from the poisons of greed, hatred and ignorance. Externally, we try to alleviate suffering wherever it’s found and to establish stable and supportive social conditions within which we and all others may live our lives to their full potential. This is what’s meant by Engaged Buddhism.
How to do this effectively depends on time and social circumstances. Engaged Buddhism in the West is a story of experimentation — finding ways to make a difference within the spirit of Buddhist ethical precepts. Both the principles and practices of this work are still being clarified; the principles include always acting from a basis Love rather than Power, seeking to effect change by raising awareness, and exemplifying not coercing; Buddhists try to understand
and affect the underlying causes that create suffering, and work to strengthen the connections that exist between all life, rather than slip into polarisation.
A major influence for Triratna is the example of Dr BR Ambedkar, whose life was one of non-violent struggle against the injustices of the Hindu caste system in India. It culminated in his conversion to Buddhism in 1956, and during the ceremony thousands of his followers converted to Buddhism.Engaged practices and campaigns include ‘Meditate to Liberate’ actions, eg. at animal research laboratories or London arms fairs; the ‘despair and empowerment’ work of Joanna Macy; working with other Engaged groups, for example on visits to Palestine or opposing the Iraq war; and dialoguing with other Buddhists who eat meat.
Activities within the Triratna Buddhist Community
Other Engaged Buddhism contexts
Listen to talks on Engaged Buddhism within our community in the West and in India.
The Buddhist Centre: buddhism for today