In 1989, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) was established in Siam (Thailand) by Sulak Sivaraksa and a group of Buddhist and non-Buddhist thinkers and social activists. INEB operates as an autonomous organization under the Bangkok-based Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation. Over the years the network has expanded to include members, both individuals and organizations, from more than 25 countries across Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. From this diversity, an understanding of socially engaged Buddhism has emerged which integrates the practice of Buddhism with social action for a healthy, just, and peaceful world.
Vision and Objectives
- Promotes understanding, cooperation, and networking among inter-Buddhist and inter-religious social action groups
- Acts as an information resource related to areas of social concern
- Facilitates conferences, education, and training based on Buddhist values and practices that support and strengthen socially active individuals and groups
INEB’s Cultivation and Practice
of Engaged Buddhism
INEB is distinctive for its autonomous and rather anarchic network structure that emphasizes human relationship and shared values over organizational structure and ideology. The Secretariat in Bangkok does not dictate an official ideology or policy to the network, but rather, acts to circulate knowledge and understanding of the network to the entire web as best it can. Kalyanamitra (“spiritual friendship”) is INEB’s most core value and practice.
We come together not out of a series of policy agendas but a deeper felt connection with sentient life and the common struggle to overcome suffering. Practically, this has meant that the bi-annual conference is our most important organizational structure and means for bringing together people to listen to the unheard stories of suffering by the most marginalized of peoples.
The marginal status of many of our members means that our work and accomplishments must come from the solidarity of kalyanamitra rather than financial or political forms of support. This foundation leads the network into an engagement and confrontation with the structural and cultural sources of suffering, which is the unique character of socially engaged Buddhism. INEB’s social engagement encompasses the personal, through critical selfexamination and spiritual practice; the social, through a critical examination and engagement in suffering; and the interpersonal, through the critical ground of daily practice with others in one’s own communities that spans the gap between the individual and the social.
The focus of INEB’s work as such is not the promotion and glorification of Buddhism but the overcoming of suffering through the practice of dharma, which means creating solidarity with individuals and groups who hold similar such values from other religions and other fields of social work. In this way, INEB has never wavered from its commitment to non-violent engagement and the articulation of positive social development.
Social Issues of Concern
INEB’s philosophy and practice is based on compassion, social justice, non-violence, and co-existence as put forth by Gautama the Buddha. The core mission is to confront and end suffering using analysis and action guided by the Four Noble Truths.
Activities focus on the following areas:
- General conferences
- Peacebuilding and reconciliation
- Human rights and social justice
- Alternative education
- Gender and womens’ empowerment
- Buddhist economics
- Alternative development
- Environment and climate change
- Reform and revival of Buddhist institutions
- Youth and spiritual leadership development
- Buddhist art
- Inter-religious/faith dialogue and collaboration
Media/Public Relations and Publications
INEB welcomes new members. Anyone can become a member, Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike, as long as they share a common interest in social issues and genuinely want to contribute in the spirit of giving (dana) with compassion. Through an annual donation of fifty US dollars ($50), new members will receive INEB’s Seeds of Peace magazine. INEB is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose programmes are funded by outside donors and foundations. The Secretariat’s office operates solely on the generosity of individuals, groups, organizations and our regional networks. Your donation or dana to further advance INEB’s work would be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in becoming a member or making a donation, please contact the Secretariat – email@example.com.