Is a Buddhist Praxis Possible?

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 25, 2018

Is a Buddhist Praxis Possible?

Charles R. Strain
DePaul University

The question that forms the title of this essay may well evoke an instant response: “Of course, why not?” This answer assumes a vague and quite elastic understanding of praxis. Latin American Liberation theologians saw praxis, to the contrary, as arising from a dialectic of critical reflection and practice. Following the example of Liberation Theology, this paper argues the thesis that the pieces of the puzzle of an adequate critical reflection on Buddhist praxis exist but they have yet to be put together into a Buddhist theory of political transformation akin to any number of Liberation Theologies. The following definition of praxis serves as a heuristic device to examine engaged Buddhist theoretical contributions to a Buddhist praxis: Praxis is action that is: (1) symbolically constituted; (2) historically situated; (3) critically mediated by a social theory; and (4) strategically and politically directed. After examining each of these components in turn, the article concludes by asking what might be the “vehicle” of a distinctively Buddhist praxis.

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2 thoughts on “Is a Buddhist Praxis Possible?”

  1. When I was the manager of the IABU, in 2012, we had a conference on Buddhist Philosophy and Praxis. I see that your article makes no reference towards the text I assembled. I would have suggested that you read what we had produced collectively. – as perhaps one example of the four books I edited for the conference. The other books can be found here:

  2. Achim, a clarification: Repetti was the editor of the symposium, so he read Karin Meyers article some time ago and then wrote his response. The publication date was therefore misleading!

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