The Buddha Was Engaged with the World

Making a better world starts with making a better me. And making a better me involves some level of social action and/or service. The balance between inward and outward spiritual growth is challenging in any religion. My friend Peace Paul explores that well in this post.

Peace Paul's Blog

buddhist-nunsRecently I read “In Search of Buddha’s Daughters” by Christine Toomey. It is a collection of interviews with, and accounts of, Buddhist nuns – many of them on the leading edge of reform. These are stories of strong women taking courageous stands against oppressive, often abusive, patriarchal institutions.

The stories of the brutality endured by some of the Tibetan nuns at the hands of the Chinese government is sickening. In Burma and Thailand the situation is a bit better, but there are still threats, social stigmatization, and violence against women seeking only the right to fully ordain as Buddhist nuns. Women are even blocked from full ordination in some Buddhist institutions in Europe and America. Often the resistance comes from the highest levels of the monastic orders – from the senior and supposedly most mature religious practitioners.

Toomey’s book reminds us that being a Buddhist does not automatically exempt one…

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks, I needed to read this today.

    I was just thinking about how frustrating it can be when it seems that “The best lack all conviction, while the worst. Are full of passionate intensity.”

    Sometimes that is how it feels when the solution to every problem “starts with me.”

    As if one can never critique social injustice until one is perfect, oneself. Which means, of course, that one can never critique social injustice. So individuals spend their lives in an endless self-improvement quest, while systems never change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. melhpine says:

      I think this is one of those instances where the Middle Way is most important. We need to avoid getting lost in either self-improvement or societal repair.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. Always looking for the middle ground, the third way. Is the “Middle Way” a thing in Buddhism?


      2. melhpine says:

        That was part of the first talk given by the newly awakened Buddha. It referred mostly to the Middle Way between ascetidism and hedonism, but it’s used in other ways as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “If our motivation is misguided, if we are driven by anger and hatred, then the institutions we create will be likewise corrupted. However, if our motivation is loving and compassionate, seeking the benefit of all, then there will be more love and less suffering in the world.” You’ve given me a lot to think about. I have been driven by anger (at least some of it has been righteous anger, but anger nevertheless) in my approach to the Catholic Church. I’m going to do a blog post in full response. Thank you for sharing this with us, Mel.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, and I’ve downloaded a sample of Toomey’s book to my Kindle, because I’m interested in learning about sexism no matter which form it takes. Thanks for that too.

    Liked by 1 person

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