Buddhism & Social Engagement: an introduction

For how Ken Jones came to be a pioneer of socially engaged Buddhism please refer to the introductory paragraphs on the Everyday Buddhism page.

Refer to the Publications section for his major work “The New Social Face of Buddhism” and the pamphlet “What is Engaged Buddhism”.

Also, please note that socially engaged Buddhism combines in the one practice two kinds of work. There is the “outer work”, that is, how to understand our global society and work to radically change it The “inner work” is what we need to do in order to be effective in the “outer work” (and transforming ourselves at the same time). The material on this page covers both kinds of work, but for a fuller guide to the “inner work” please visit "How to do Everyday Buddhism".

Engaged Buddhism flies on two wings. This website is, for the moat part, concerned with only one of them, which is the activism of social protest and radical social change. The other wing is that of service and helping, whether professional, institutional or personal. Ken has, however, served at various times as a Buddhist prison chaplain and as a Samaritan, and has led retreats on ageing. Experience of these last informs the sub-page Ageing: The Great Adventure.

Towards a Radical Culture of Awakening offers a personal overview of Buddhist social theory and activism. For further general information and how to get involved, please refer to the excellent website of the Network of Engaged Buddhists.

Of the eight other sub-pages of this Buddhism and Social Engagement section, most were articles and talks for the UK Network of Engaged Buddhism and its journal “Indra’s Net”.

Four Noble Political Truths and The State We’re In exemplify Ken’s general stance on engaged Buddhism, as president of the UK Network.

Towards a Buddhist Understanding of 11 September 2001 and The Recession: Suffering and the Way Out of Suffering ? are typical pieces aimed at drawing out the Dharmic significance of current events.

An Activist’s Tool Box offers suggestions and examples on how better to popularise socially engaged Buddhism in talks, leaflets and the like.

Zen Master Dogen’s “Active Compassion” was first published in the (American) Buddhist Peace Fellowship journal “Turning Wheel” as well as in “Indra’s Net”. It is an original endeavour to relate the teachings of this great Zen Master to present-day Buddhist social engagement.

Green Mountains Walking: a Training in Landscape Intimacy is an account of an experiment enabling thirteen participants to experience a weekend of solitary mountain retreat, previously published in the New Chan Forum (No. 27, Winter 2002), the journal of the Western Chan Fellowship.

Ageing: the Great Adventure is a Buddhist guide first published as a pamphlet by the Buddhist Hospice Trust and now out-of-print.

Chagford Retreat 2004