How can Buddhism and mindfulness meditation help us to address social injustice and the ecological crisis? The focus on individual practice and personal transformation has often been understood to preclude social and environmental activism. But is this dualism between inner and outer, between individual and social, one of the big delusions that mindfulness practices can help us let go of?
Traditionally, social engagement has usually been understood as a distraction from the “real practice” of meditation, but what if social engagement is an important part of our own transformation? And is personal transformation valuable – maybe necessary -- for healing and grounding one’s social and ecological activism?
Perhaps the most important contribution that Buddhism can offer today is the bodhisattva (or “ecosattva”) path. Bodhisattvas have a double practice: they continue to work on their own individual awakening, but they know that their well-being is not separate from the well-being of other people, or from the well-being of the earth’s biosphere. The talk will reflect on how the traditional understanding of the bodhisattva path can illuminate what we need to do today and how to do it.
Last year David Loy wrote a highly praised book on Ecodharma.
For anyone who is interested in these topics.