I had to think a bit. First, our sidebar says:
About Progressive BuddhismHow does that differentiate us from other forms of Buddhism? Focusing in on these two terms, 'progressive' and 'Buddhism', how does each inform the other in our lives?
This is a group-blog on the topic of progressive, modern Buddhism - looking at Buddhism in the light of modern knowledge, free from excessive dependence on ancient dogmas; looking at the best ways to integrate Buddhism into modern life and modern societies; discussing and encouraging an empirical or scientific approach; seeing insight and awakening as a living tradition not just a historical one
If you'd like to contribute please get in touch.
Inner development / outer development
Concerning "Progressive Buddhism" specifically, here is a portion of an email I sent out to fellow contributors today:
I'd like to think that we represent a particular flavor or tendancy within all forms of modern Buddhism: a tendency to engage, to listen to people who are different from us (refugees, the homeless, the LGBTQ community, non-Buddhists of all stripes, people from near and far), and to seek connection and to alleviate suffering for all, recognizing that Buddhist practices and ideals of old might not apply and serve today or tomorrow - following the Advice to the Kalamas to test for ourselves and see. We also recognize that systems matter: capitalism, authoritarianism, white privilege, patriarchy, etc all shape the suffering in ourselves and those around us. How can we expect those most oppressed by these systems to see the benefits of Buddhism if Buddhism replicates and enforces the systems too?This means that we do not leave or look down upon other Theravadins, Zen, or Tibetan practitioners (or the many others out there); but that we do seek to balance our practice and learning with progressive engagement in the world.
Some areas where I'd like to see us work in the year to come include:
- 'Buddhist' economics (e.g. this interview/book)
- Climate Change
- Promoting Openness in Sangha hierarchies
- Developing Democracy, decentralized decision-making
- Promoting women and people of color
- Advocating generosity and non-violent responses at home and around the world
- Showing the benefits of simple life (renunciation of consumerist greed)
- Key teachings of the Buddha
- Wisdom from later Indian, Tibetan, Chinese, etc developments
- The 'dharma' of science and Western wisdom sources