In this fourth episode of Progressive Religious Voices, Hozan Alan Senauke, Soto Zen priest at the Berkeley Zen Center and program director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship talks about the place of socially engaged Buddhism in the emerging progressive religious movement.
Senauke talks about the resources engaged Buddhism brings to the fundamental task of trying not to live life “at the expense of others” :
To me the Buddhist precepts, they boil down to not living your life at the expense of other beings, …and this is very difficult to sustain in America. Good people—anyone can be a good person, but do you want to live at the expense of the person in Bangladesh or Pakistan who’s making your shirt, or the oil rig worker in Nigeria, the agricultural worker in the Central Valley who is being hounded by the INS? Do you want to live that way? Until we address those questions, I don’t think we’ll have a truly progressive religious movement or truly progressive movement.
Senauke also discusses how Buddhism complements and challenges the prophetic, monotheistic religions and how Buddhism contributes a sense of “dynamic stillness” to the emerging progressive religious movement.
Hozan Alan Senauke is a Soto Zen priest and teacher in the tradition of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Alan is presently serving as tanto or head of practice at Berkeley Zen Center in California. From 1991 to 2001, Alan was Executive Director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and currently serves as its program director.
Alan is one of the founders of Think Sangha, a group of Buddhist-activist intellectuals and writers. He continues to work as a social activist supporting the development of a Socially Engaged Buddhism. In another realm, Alan has been a student and performer of American traditional music for nearly 40 years.
About the Podcasts
Progressive Religious Voices is a bi-monthly podcast of interviews gleaned from nearly 100 interviews with progressive religious leaders. You can subscribe to the podcast feed directly or on iTunes to get all 24 exciting interviews that we will feature throughout 2008.
You can also read more about the growing progressive religious movement in my forthcoming book, Progressive & Religious: How Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist Leaders are Moving Beyond the Culture Wars and Transforming American Public Life. The book is available for pre-order from Amazon.com and will be in bookstores nationwide in August 2008.