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Experimental BuddhismInnovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan$
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John K. Nelson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838331

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838331.001.0001

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Social Welfare and Buddhist-Inspired Activism

Social Welfare and Buddhist-Inspired Activism

(p.70) 3 Social Welfare and Buddhist-Inspired Activism
Experimental Buddhism

John K. Nelson

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter traces some of the histories, expressions, and practices of Buddhist-inspired social activism, with a final section devoted to the exceptional circumstances of Japan’s March 11, 2011, “triple disaster” that resulted in the deaths and disappearance of nearly 20,000 people. It looks at the ways in which key teachings become manifest through specific actions and policies that are oftentimes innovative and experimental. As might be expected for a complex religious tradition spanning vast geographical regions and many distinctive local cultures, a wide variety of approaches to spiritual practice and awakening have developed over the centuries of Buddhist thought and history. Aided in part by new communication technologies and increased mobility, we now see a growing alignment between civil society and the mission of a religion through its social work, disaster relief, and education.

Keywords:   social welfare, social activism, Buddhist activism, social work, disaster relief, Buddhist education, civil society

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