Social & Political Engagement

The path of the bodhisattva or ‘making the road’ through solidarity?
Mike Slott offers an alternative model to the path of the Bodhisattva, one based on the solidarity of practitioners ‘co-creating’ the transformative changes that we seek.
What is engaged Buddhism missing? The Buddha on poverty and plutocracy
In a recent dharma talk, David Loy emphasized the economic roots of the climate crisis and calls for structural, not just individual, change. According to David, ‘the ecological crisis is deeply implicated in the basic structure of our economic system. . . In other words, the eco-crisis is also an economic—especially a class—crisis.’
How Buddhist insights and values can help sustain political activism
Mike Slott explores the ways in which Buddhist insights and values can enable political activists to sustain their activity in various movements and to make a positive contribution to the organizations in which they participate.
A response to ‘The core life tasks and beliefs for a radically engaged Buddhist’
In response to the article by Slott, de Kadt, and Struhl on ‘The core life tasks and beliefs for a radically engaged Buddhist,’ Winton Higgins expresses his agreement with the authors’ perspective, but points to a missing piece in the article: the lack of any discussion over a pathway or transition from our present morass to a socially just, future society.
The core life tasks and beliefs for a radically engaged Buddhist
Mike Slott, Katya de Kadt, and Karsten Struhl offer an account of the core tasks and beliefs for radically engaged Buddhists who seek not just individual transformation but the dismantling of social, economic, and political systems which cause harm and suffering to all beings.
Understanding and alleviating suffering (dukkha)
We suffer not only because we have the tendency to be angry, greedy, and deluded, but because social, political, and economic structures foster these tendencies and amplify their impact. John Danvers discusses the characteristics of a society which would facilitate their opposites: compassion, non-harming, cooperation, and mindfulness.
An interview with Yanai Postelnik on meditation and climate change activism
Bernat Font Clos interviewed Yanai Postelnik, a meditation teacher who in recent years has been devoting more and more time to climate activism with the group Extinction Rebellion, a decentralized, international movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act on the climate emergency.
Anti-racism and the dharma: next steps
Jewel Wheeler argues that the pain and suffering caused by racism require us to understand why our response as Buddhists – both secular and traditional – has been inadequate. Then, we can begin to think through how we can bring dharmic insights more effectively into the struggle for a multi-racial, just society. 
Dharma EconomiX
Stefano Bettera offers a spiritual perspective on social reconstruction – Dharma EconomiX – that goes beyond the anthropocentric model and focuses, instead, on practices, languages and imagery capable of healing the social and ecological wounds that we face today. Such a perspective provides us with an opportunity for a revalorisation of the individual and of the community. 
A response to SBN’s interview with David Edwards: the need for skillful goal-oriented activism
Responding to David Edwards’ criticism of goal-directed Left activism in his interview with SBN, Mark Evans argues that we do need skillful goals to guide our actions, counter cynicism, inform our judgment. Skillful goals are a ‘middle way’ between reactive cynicism and debilitating myths.
An interview with David Edwards on corporate media bias, political activism, and meditation
SBN interviewed David Edwards, the co-editor of the UK-based media watch site Media Lens and author of several books. David discussed his critique of corporate media bias and how political activists can make a real difference by focusing on being, not just on doing; on learning to truly live and feel, rather than solely on external change.
Anti-racist resources for secular Buddhists
Among Buddhists of all lineages, including secular Buddhists, the need to confront racism has become increasingly apparent in recent years. This article provides SBN readers with useful resources selected from Buddhist meditation centers and other sources to aid us in the process of confronting racism in the Buddhist community in the West and in society as a whole.
A secular Buddhist perspective on the threat of climate extinction
Stephen Batchelor argues that a wise and compassionate response to the threat of climate extinction demands direct engagement with life itself irrespective of any a priori beliefs about the origins and end of suffering. By entering into a contemplative, empathetic, and existential relationship with the pain of the world, one seeks to respond with situation-specific compassion.
How to stop bigotry
We can practice pulling bigotry out by the roots every day in our own worlds. Identify who you treat as ‘other’, be kind to yourself about it, then focus your attention on commonality of experience – of basic human needs. Practice it again and again and again. This is wise attention.
Transforming ourselves and transforming the world
Meditation is invaluable in developing the skills and qualities for us to play a productive role in movements for social change, but engaging in social change with others is essential if we want to fully develop these skills and qualities. We should see individual and social transformation as a simultaneous, mutually interactive process.
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