The first in this series was Sebene Selassie, Executive Director of New York Insight. Selassie is a woman of color and as I noted last year, "What comes out in particular is Selassie’s commitment to Inclusion and Diversity outreach."
This time we have an example of inclusion and diversity outreach from Burma/Myanmar.
" ... renowned for his work with peace and interfaith groups,* the abbot has been accused of defamation by Myanmar’s politically powerful military following an interview he gave to the local Yangon Khit Thit news website in June. During the conversation, he questioned the propriety of a more than 30 million kyat (US$20,000) donation by an army commander to the ultra-nationalist Buddhist organization the Buddha-Dhamma Parahita Foundation."
“I will contest whatever lawsuit they use. Suing us shows there are no rights, but it will not stop me from speaking the truth,” said Myawaddy Sayadaw. “I will keep saying what should not be done and what should be avoided. I’m a Buddhist monk and this is my duty to show the right path for everyone.”
Standing up to repressive ideas (as the Buddha did with aspects of the caste system and entrenched gender inequality) and governments is central to a decidedly progressive Buddhism, as it follows the right understanding of our social and political context and puts it into right action. Not all Buddhists will do this, and that's okay.
For some, Buddhism will be primarily a path of devotion or merit accumulation, chanting, prostrating, reading texts, etc. But this active, engaged, progressive stance is every bit a part of Buddhism today as any other path.
This is the