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Buddhadharma : Winter 2015
winter 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 71 earth.” As Buddhists, we can embrace the integral ecology of the Pope’s message and place it at the heart of a Social Dharma. Integral ecology is not Christian or Buddhist—it’s human. A gift has been given to us to sustain, take care of, and share with everyone. The whole earth is my true body. We all stand on the same ground, and this ground is unstable. The planet is at risk. Those who are poorest, with the least access to resources, suffer most, but we are all threatened. In the light of interdependent reality, in the circle of giving and receiving, we all suffer. So I ask, can we let go of fear, privilege, and the vain quest for comfort at the expense of others’ lives? In the spirit of right view, can we create a Social Dharma? echoing Thomas Merton, that we might find com- mon ground. Among the dialogue participants were many who have helped develop socially engaged Buddhism over the last twenty-five years. Many of us, in this work, have been inspired by a century of Christian Social Gospel, from the ministry of Catholic Work- ers to the radical civil disobedience of antiwar and antinuclear activists. In the late nineteenth century, the Social Gospel, as a response to the industrial revolution’s depreda- tions, offered a fresh approach to Christ’s message and Christian ethical teachings, which were inter- preted in the light of social justice, including pov- erty, racism, child labor, war, crime, and much else. While earlier popes addressed these issues in various ways, none in memory has been as outspoken as Pope Francis about the inequities of our world and the dangers of our way of life. Again and again, Pope Francis hammers home his Social Gospel in the pages of his new encyclical. At the end of our time in Rome, all the partici- pants agreed to return to our cities and explore joint interfaith social action initiatives: creating out- reach programs for youth, collaborating in prison ministries, developing resources for the homeless, taking action on climate change, and much more. These initiatives are important, and I hope we fol- low through. But it seems to me that we, as Bud- dhists, must also be inspired to create a rigorous equivalent to the Social Gospel. We need a “Social Dharma” to care for our common home. This Social Dharma must reach across racial, cultural, and Buddhist traditional lines. Can we reach across those lines and establish meaningful intra-Buddhist dialogue? Can we, together, form an understanding of the connections between climate change, poverty, racism, and militarism? The core Buddhist teachings and precepts are about our relationship to all beings, not treating anyone or anything as an object for our manipula- tion. In the Zen tradition, Dogen wrote, “Under- stand that the ancient Buddha teaches that your birth is not separate from the mountains, rivers, and hozan alan senauke is founder of the clear view Project and vice- abbot of Berkeley zen center. he serves on the advisory committee of the international network of engaged Buddhists. the one Earth, one Human Family interfaith march in Rome included members of the u.S. Buddhist delegation. Participants marched to show appreciation for Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment and call upon world leaders to take greater action on climate change. alansenauke