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Engaged Mysticism

john heid
On Secrets (July 2020)

Dear Editor: Thich Nhat Hahn’s Engaged Buddhism offers a worthy moment of reflection on the notion that Buddhist practice is “merely to be” (“From the Editor’s Desk,” May/June 2020). There are innumerable stories of Buddhist “responsiveness” from Maha Ghosananda’s engagement of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia to the enduring presence of Japanese Buddhist monks and nuns at the School of the America’s vigils at Ft. Benning, Georgia; from the epic nonviolent resistance to Chinese occupation in Tibet to anti-nuclear and anti-war vigils around the world. The list goes on. . . One of the Bodhisattva vows is to end suffering, even as suffering is never ending.

Perhaps the perception of difference between Quaker and Buddhist mysticism/activism lies in our Western (mis)conception of dualism. In essence, being and doing are really one. Seamless. Who can say where one ends and the other begins? Symmetry is at play here. Not duality.

Curiously, Quakerism is sometimes called the most Eastern of Western religions. We are kin. After all, wasn’t Mary Dyer executed for refusing to cease her practice of Worship, not unlike like First-Century Christians and Twentieth-Century Tibetan Buddhists? We are one.

– john heid, Pima Monthly Meeting (IMYM)

Buddhism Engaged Buddhism

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