Buddhism as a Humanist Spirituality: Part 2: Towards a Buddhist Humanist Manifesto

What follows is the outline of a manifesto on engaged Buddhism as a humanist spirituality. There are several basic dharma concepts, broad areas of study and practice, that make up the Navayana, or “the New Vehicle.”

  1. Non-self nature (anatta) as interbeing, interdependence, self-as-process; socially constructed self.
  2. Interdependence and connection (pratityasamutpada)
  3. Mutual causality, co-generation (pratityasamutpada)
  4. Impermanence as process, flow and change  (shunyata)
  5. Compassion is King (anatta, pratityasamutpada)
  6. Being human is being spiritual—loving our humanness, our human bodies, our human feelings and our human lives as real, meaningful and sacred. (pratityasamutpada)
  7. Human Rights: Treat people like people, with valid feelings and needs for connection, care and support; respect and uphold human rights for everyone.
  8. Awaken to the necessity and possibility of transformation and liberation, personal and collective (four noble truths)
  9. Attend to and relieve suffering in all its forms, personal and collective (four noble truths, eight-fold path)
  10. Practice meditation in several forms to end craving, resentment and delusion; to bring about equanimity, acceptance, wisdom, compassion and well-being. (eight-fold path)
  11. Everything is real, deal with it. There is only one reality, but different ways of experiencing and  interpreting it. The complexity of reality is not erased by its inherent emptiness. Personal and social problems are real and complex problems that need appropriate solutions that come from intelligent inquiry and concerted collective effort. (pratityasamutpada, eight-fold path)
  12. Science explains the ultimate nature of reality and the universe; Buddhism is only an interpretation of the human experience of reality.
  13. Work for social justice, especially in these broad areas: ending the oppression of class and caste, racism, gender and sexuality, and disability; poverty, hunger, health, transformation of the economy, education, labour; non-violence and conflict resolution; climate, energy and environmental protection (eight-fold path)
  14. Understand the connections amongst divergent views (shunyata, non-dualism)
  15. Accept difference and complexity and embrace diversity (shunyata, non-dualism)
  16. Practice the Five Precepts of ethical behaviour, the Ten Paramitas of wise living, and the four immeasurables of joyful living.
  17. Let go of self-centredness and work for the benefit of all beings.
  18. Relax in the understanding that we are all already fully awake and enlightened beings. There is no need to strive to achieve anything; we are already buddha (awake).
  19. Practice vegetarianism whenever possible.

[Continue with Buddhism as a Humanist Spirituality: Part 3]

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