Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.

Disengaged Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 26, 2019

Disengaged Buddhism

Amod Lele
Boston University

Contemporary engaged Buddhist scholars typically claim either that Buddhism always endorsed social activism, or that its non-endorsement of such activism represented an unwitting lack of progress. This article examines several classical South Asian Buddhist texts that explicitly reject social and political activism. These texts argue for this rejection on the grounds that the most important sources of suffering are not something that activism can fix, and that political involvement interferes with the tranquility required for liberation. The article then examines the history of engaged Buddhism in order to identify why this rejection of activism has not yet been taken sufficiently seriously. Read article

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