S. Sivaraksa

Internal Healing for External Compassion
November 6, 2006, 5:22 pm
Filed under: Buddhism, Engaged Spirituality

To be truly religious is not to reject society but to work for social justice and change. Religion is at the heart of social change, and this change is an essence of religion. The teachings of Buddha have much more to offer to mitigate sufferings of both humans and nature in the world. If one is worth living, there are ways one can live.

This was the crux of the talk on the challenges and prospects of Buddhism given by Sulak Sivaraksa from Thailand at the conference hall of the Centre for Bhutan Studies on 23 August.

He is a teacher, a scholar, a publisher, an activist, founder of many organizations and author of more than hundred books and monographs. He is among the handful of leaders world-wide working to revive the socially engaged aspects of spirituality and was granted the Right Livelihood Award, also known as Alternative Noble Prize in 1995.

According to Sivaraksa, 21st century is the century of spirituality. Otherwise the world would have been destroyed. Buddhism plays a vital role in Asia especially in South and South East Asia, not only spiritually but also morally, socially and ecologically. Simplicity guides one to be mindful of materialism and sensual pleasures.

Bhutan has developed the concept of Gross National Happiness instead of Gross National Product, which will help in the post-modern era, realizing that what they wanted is happiness, not money nor power.

Sulak envisions a future built on traditional wisdom and culture. Bhutan is unique in this regard.

We must chain our society to be transparent and accountable. One cannot practice good politics without being a spiritual person,said Sulak.

During the 1970s, Sulak became a central figure in a number of NGOs in Thailand. He said, Whatever you do, don’t do it out of selfish motives but out of understanding and kindness. Its you who decide.

Sonam Pelden
from Bhutan Observer
Saturday August 25, 2006

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